Clarice Patrimonio takes on Mae Taller while Khim Iglupas faces Joanne Lorin as the top two seeds kick off their drive in the first Albay National Open beginning today at the Lignon and DPWH tennis courts in Bicol.
Clarice overpowered sister Christine, 6-2, 6-2, to capture the PPS-PEPP Brookside Open crown last April with the former seeking to nail the second of five Open titles staked in this year’s Palawan Pawnshop-Palawan Express Padala tennis calendar.
But standing in her way is 18-year-old Iglupas, who is tipped to dominate the lower half of the 16-player draw in the event hosted by Gov. Al Francis Bichara through Lignon Hills Tennis Club president Nards Gonzales.
Third seed Shaira Rivera, meanwhile, clashes with Arriane Nillasca, while No. 4 Chloe Saraza collides with Cheryl Macasera in the two other featured matches in the women’s side of the week-long tournament backed by local sponsor Davies Paints and held as part of the province’s Magayon Festival celebrations.
Johnny Arcilla, on the other, banners the men’s Open field that includes second ranked Leander Lazaro, No. 3 Fritz Verdad, fourth seed Deo Talatayod and No. 5 Eric Jed Olivarez with the veteran Davis Cupper expected to add the title to his long list of victories.
Arcilla also romped off with Brookside Open plum, foiling absentee PJ Tierro, 6-4, 6-4.
The Albay Open is actually held side-by-side with the PPS-PEPP Legazpi age-group with close to 200 entries vying for top honors in various divisions.
Joma Pague and Kurt Molina, along with Pete Coteron and Gerald Realizan lead the boys’ 18-and-under division with Elsie Abarquez and Melanie Dizon looming as the players to beat in the girls’ side of the Group 2 tournament presented by Slazenger and backed by Asiatraders Corp. and the new Unified tennis group, led by PPS-PEPP, Cebuana Lhuillier, Wilson, Toby’s and B-Meg.
Meanwhile, Legazpi City is also hosting the MCTA (Macs Crankit Tennis Academy of Australia) Community Coaches Conference which started Wednesday till Saturday. For details, call 09154046464.