Joanne Gornes and Arnie Joy Diaz hacked out a pair of three-set thrillers to lead the Cotabato aces’ romp in the Palawan Pawnshop-Palawan Express Pera Padala Malaybalay regional age group tennis tournament at the DPWH and Freedom Park Tennis Club in Bukidnon on Monday.
Gornes rallied then outduelled fellow Pikit native Diaz, 2-6, 6-3, 10-7, to snare the girls’ 18-and-under crown while the latter foiled Gornes’ second round tormentor in the 16-U side Novi Melendez with a 6-1, 5-7, 10-8 victory.
Jilian Manangking, also from Pikit, edged Casey Padilla, 1-6, 7-5, 12-10, to claim the girls’ 14-U crown while Karl Palo from Kidapawan, Cotabato, and Rayman Saldivar Jr. from Kabacan, Cotabato took the 14- and 12-U titles in the boys’ side of the Group 4 tournament sponsored by Palawan Pawnshop and presented by Slazenger.
“The string of three-setters only underscored the level playing field among these young aces all hoping to make it big someday. Palawan Pawnshop will provide them the tournaments and exposure they need to realize their dream,” said Palawan Pawnshop president/COO Bobby Castro.
The No. 3 Palo upended top seed John Linsagan, 4-1, 1-4, 10-5, in the semis then held off Jed Durog, 6-1, 7-6(5), in the finals while top-seeded Saldivar thwarted Kyle Robeniol, 7-6(4), 4-6, 11-9, to annex the fifth crown for Cotabato in the second leg of the 58-stage nationwide tour put up by the country’s leading pawnshop and remittance center to boost the sport and help produce future national players.
Other winners in the event, backed by new sponsor Asiatraders Corp. and sanctioned by Philta, were Al Rasheed Lucman and Cyrill Robeniol from Malaybalay, Bukidnon, Mark Malinis from Maramag, Bukidon, and Cagayan de Oro’s Casey Padilla.
Lucman subdued Val Dandasan, 4-1, 5-3, to pocket the 10-unisex crown; Robeniol stunned Linsagan, 7-5, 6-2, to nail the boys’ 16-U title; Malinis routed top seed Yvu Dandasan, 6-1, 6-0, to capture the boys’ 18-U diadem; and Padilla foiled Manangking’s two-title bid with a 7-5, 4-6, 10-4 win in the 12-U finals.
Meanwhile, Butuan City will host the third leg on Feb . 3-7 while the next stage will be held in Cagayan de Oro on Feb. 9-13. Listup is ongoing, according to Bobby Mangunay, also the PPS-PEPP sports program development director. For details, call 09154046464.