All eyes will be on defending champions Johnny Arcilla and Marian Jade Capadocia as they try to retain their respective titles in the 33rd Philippine Columbian Association (PCA) Open presented by Cebuana Lhuillier and Metro Global Holdings when seniors’ matches start on Saturday at the PCA indoor courts in Paco, Manila.
The 34-year-old Arcilla, gunning for his ninth championship crown in the men’s division, is well aware of just how tough his rivals are.
Among the top ranked netters eyeing to steal the title from Arcilla are top seed Patrick John Tierro, 2013 runner-up Marc Reyes and junior standout Alberto Lim Jr.
Tierro, a member of the Philippine Davis Cup Team, made it to the semifinals of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Futures Tournament held in Rizal Memorial Tennis Center in Manila last March.
The Filipino-Italian Reyes, on one hand, wants to redeem himself from after last year’s heartbreaking loss in the finals.
“I really wanted to get it [title]this time. Alam ko na mahirap ang laban dahil halos lahat ng players nag-improve kaya matinding preparasyon rin ang pinagdaanan ko para physically and mentally prepared ako,” Reyes said during the press conference at the PCA Function Hall.
Reyes took time off from his daily training to join PCA President Philip Ycasiano, PCA Open Organizing Committee Chairman Raul Diaz, Cebuana Lhuillier Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer Danny Francisco, Philippine Sports Commission Commissioner Buddy Andrada, and PCA Chairman Eduardo Caniza.
“Cebuana Lhuillier has been a long-time partner of the PCA in its annual tournament for seven years now because we believe in its goal of providing a proper venue for competition for Filipino netters,” said Lhuillier in a statement.
Equally impressive is the 15-year-old Lim, who has been honing his skills in the US while competing in the men’s circuit abroad.
In the women’s side, the Patrimonio sisters—Christine and Clarice—along with Khim Iglupas, Maika Tanpoco and Marinel Rudas try to thwart Capadocia’s crown No. 4.
“Despite of the absence of the foreign players, we assured you that this edition is interesting and exciting because the country’s top and prominent players are seeing action,” said Diaz for his part.
A total of P600,000 cash prize will be given to the winners of this event supported by Dunlop, Fujidenzo/Whirlpool, Babolat, Hon. Emma-nuel “Manny” Pacquiao, Head, Accel, Malate Bayview Mansion, Coca-Cola Bottlers Phils. Inc., Philippine Prudential Life Insurance Company Inc. and Seno Hardware.
The champion in the men’s singles event will get P100,000, while the runner-up takes home P50,000. The titlist in the women’s division will bag P50,000 and the second-placer will get P25,000.