Jacob Martin and Tracy Llamas brace for a tough challenge in their respective sides as they head the record field in the Iloilo leg of the Palawan Pawnshop-Palawan Express Pera Padala regional tennis circuit unfolding today at the Iloilo City Tennis Center.
Over 300 entries are seeing action in the Group 2 tournament, the biggest thus far after eight legs of the annual, nationwide age-grouper put up by Palawan Pawnshop and presented by Slazenger with top players and rising stars from San Carlos, La Carlota, Bacolod, Negros, Panay Island and Manila in the fold.
“We thank the organizers and host Iloilo for drawing such a huge field and we also recognize these young players’ desire to hone up and raise the level of their games by competing in this top-ranking tournament,” said Palawan Pawnshop President/CEO Bobby Castro. “Rest assured that the PPS-PEPP will provide them the kind of tournaments they need to improve and become members of future national pool.”
Martin banners the full-packed 64-player cast in the boys’ 16-and-under class but the top-seeded bet from Xavier School will have his hands full against the likes of Karl Baran, Troy Llamas, Matthew Flores, Fernando Po, Rewel Justiniani, Reynan Mahusay and Prince Dimate in the five-day tournament sanctioned by the Philippine Tennis Association headed by president and Paranaque Mayor Edwin Olivarez.
Llamas, on the other hand, tries to atone for a series of setbacks in the last three legs of the circuit backed by Asiatraders Corp., exclusively distributor of Slazenger, the official ball, with the top La Carlota, Negros Occidental bet eyeing the girls’ 16- and 18-U plums against Keana de Asis, Averille Sacapano, Bliss Bayking, Avril Suace, Erica Sevilla, Jewel Milliam, Claire Clavaton and Grace Zapanta.
Baran, meanwhile, gains the top seeding in the boys’ 18-U section with Mark Crisosto, Matthew Flores, Troy Llamas, Justiniani, Reynile Marcellana, Mahusay and Ryle Singson out to foil his bid while Justiniani and Po lead the 64-player 14-U cast that includes Pete Rodriguez, Nikhel Nowlakha, Alekzander Po, Joshua Raymundo, Earl Mosquera and Raphael Seballos.
De Asis and Sacapano, on the other hand, spearhead the girls’ 14-U category while Alexa Milliam and Abigail Sacapano are the players to watch in the 12-U side of the event, which also serves as a prelude to the first PPS-PEPP Men’s Open, featuring the country’s leading and upcoming players on February 29 to March 5.