Alcantara cops Olivarez crown

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Francis Casey Alcantara wore down fellow Davis Cupper PJ Tierro with a superb all-around game and pulled off a 6-2, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5), 6-4 victory to capture the men’s Open singles crown in the sixth Olivarez Cup Tennis Championships at the Olivarez Sports Center in Sucat, Parañaque City on Sunday.

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Alcantara baffled Tierro with dazzling drop shots, came through with ferocious volleys and spiked his triumph over the top-seeded bet with a number of big serves, including one that netted him the pivotal win in a thriller of a tiebreaker in the third and another ace that ended the energy-sapping three-hour and 30-minute encounter.

“I’m so happy to win this one. I never really got to compete here the last few years but definitely this (victory) is a big boost to my career,” said the 23-year-old Alcantara, the only Filipino to win a Grand Slam event – the boys’ doubles crown, in partnership with Taiwanese Cheng Peng Hsieh, in the 2009 Australian Open.

It was an inspiring win for Alcantara, a wild card entry in the top-ranking event held in honor of former Paranaque City Mayor Pablo Olivarez and who eased past Rollie Anasta, 6-1, 6-3, and Kim Saraza, 3-1 (ret.) before trouncing No. 4 Anthony Alcoseba, 6-2, 6-2, in the Last 16.

Alcantara, who reached the semis in his only other stint in 2012 in this annual tournament presented by Palawan Pawnshop-Palawan Express Pera Padala through COO Bobby Castro and sanctioned by Philta, bundled out No. 5 Rolando Ruel Jr., 6-2, 6-0, to barge into the Final Four where he faced not only the second seeded bet but also the reigning three-time champion in Johnny Arcilla.

“My win over Arcilla in the semis was also a key. That really pumped me up,” said Alcantara, referring to his come-from-behind 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory over the many-time PCA Open titlist.

For his feat, Alcantara pocketed the top P50,000 and will take a brief rest in Cagayan de Oro and resume his campaign in the Futures Tour.

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