Over 250 players, including the leading juniors and rising stars from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, slug it out for top honors and ranking points in the Palawan Pawnshop-Palawan Express Pera Padala Pinamalayan leg regional age-group tournament at the Bahaghari Tennis Club in Mindoro starting today (Saturday, April 8).
Seven divisions drew 32-player draws, including the premier boys’ and girls’ 18-and-under classes, guaranteeing a fierce battle in the Group 2 tournament presented by Slazenger hosted by Pinamalayan, Mindoro Gov. Alfonso Umali Jr. and held in cooperation with Butch Buenaventura.
La Carlota, Negros Occidental’s Tracy Llamas and Kiana de Asis banner the 18-U cast while Klyde Lagarde of Gen. Santos City gains the top seeding in the boys’ side of the five-day event held as part of Gov. Umali’s effort to support the sport and boost the youth sports program in the province.
Gabrielle Zoleta, a rising star from Lucena City, also joins the hunt in the 16-U play and leads the 14-U field that also includes Julia Ignacio, Lia Bautista and Cassandra Palacio.
“Drawing a big field like this only inspires us to put up more tournaments, especially in the countryside where a lot of talents remain untapped,” said Palawan Pawnshop president/CEO Bobby Castro. “We believe that through this circuit, we’ll be able to discover, develop and train future stars.”
For details, call PPS-PEPP Regional Age Group Tennis Event organizer and Sports Program Development director Bobby Mangunay at 0915-4046464.
Meanwhile, Lagarde is also the player to beat in the 16-U class that also drew Troy Llamas, Martin Buenaventura, Jeromie Ignacio and Angelo Mates while Luis Salvacion and Andre Rodriguez head the 14-U side of the event backed by Asiatraders Corp. and the new Unified tennis group, led by PPS-PEPP, Cebuana Lhuillier, Wilson Toby’s and B-Meg.
Ashley Sajo, Jonah Lopez, Keisha Lopez and Nicole Martinez lead the title chase in the girls’ 12-U category while Moen Gaca, Kevin Majaba, Nedrick Luarca and Eliezer Marte are tipped to dispute the 10-unisex plum.