Marielle Jarata hopes to ride the momentum of her two-title romp in Baguio as she headlines the big field in the Palawan Pawnshop-Palawan Express Pera Padala Agoo, La Union leg tennis tournament, which got under way at the Don Mariano Marcos tennis courts on Thursday.
Close to 200 players are vying for top honors in nine singles categories and five doubles events in the Group 2 event serving as the second leg of a four-stage Northern Luzon swing of the country’s biggest talent-search sponsored by Palawan Pawnshop and presented by Slazenger.
But focus will be on Jarata, the young Agoo, La Union star who will be hard-pressed to duplicate her victories in the 10-unisex and girls’ 12-and-under section before home crowd in the five-day event supported by the Unified Tennis Philippines, including PPS-PEPP, Cebuana Lhuillier, Wilson, Toby’s, Dunlop, Slazenger and B-Meg.
She gained the top seeding in the 10-U side that also drew Ezekiel Atos, Prince Lim and Kris Roque and remains the player to beat in the 12-U class where she is tipped to dispute the crown with Dynna Visaya.
Exequiel Jucutan, who also copped two titles in Baguio last week, faces an uphill battle this time as he settles for the No. 3 ranking in the boys’ 14-U division headed by Andre Jarata and Raphael Liangco with Joewyn Pascua, Eric Bajet, Justine Erpelo and Kurt Agustin also expected to contend.
Jucutan, playing out of Pangasinan, also seeks to score a repeat in the 16-U side bannered by Gen. Santos ace Klyde Lagarde, Vince Tugade, Ramon Bentillo and Dale Cuevas.
Lagarde, meanwhile, is also the top seed in the 18-U category that also includes Tugade, Bentillo, Cuevas along with Joshua de Guzman, Raymond Cabuco, Troy Cabuco and Charles Torres.
“We are impressed with the big turnout this week, including three 32-player draws in three boys’ divisions, headed by a number of players from the south,” said Palawan Pawnshop president/CEO Bobby Castro.
Denise Bernardo, Anna Demyer, Sharry Caluza and Angela Tangalin, meanwhile, heads the girls’ 18-U cast with Bernardo and Demyer also vying in the 16-U side along with Khrysa Soriano and Angeline Atos, who also leads the 14-U roster together with Sandra Tangalin.
Meanwhile, Pangasinan will host the next stop on November 23 to 26 at the Urdaneta Tennis Club with Jucutan expected to lead the cast while the TLH Sports and Wellness Center in Valenzuela, Bulacan will stage the next tournament on November 30 to December 4. For details, call 09154046464.