• Otico, Pantino seal all-Filipino Phinma finals


    Bryan Otico came away with another straight-set victory while Arthur Pantino got back at Week I tormentor Shunsuke Matsui of Japan to arrange an all-Filipino final in the Phinma-PSC Juniors Tennis Championships at the Manila Polo Club in Forbes Park yesterday.

    Otico, 18, overpowered Taiyo Yamanaka, also of Japan, 7-5, 6-0, to close in on a second straight major championship after stunning veteran PJ Tierro in five to snatch the PCA Open crown last week.

    Pantino, on the other hand, scored a big follow-up to his tough 6-2, 6-7(6), 6-3, victory over Japanese Ryota Ishii in the quarterfinals as he turned back Matsui, 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-0, to gain a crack at the crown in the Group 4 ITF (International Tennis Federation) 18-and-under event sponsored by the Philippine Investment Management Consultants (Phinma) and Technifiber.

    The Philippine Tennis Academy standouts under Romy Chan and Oscar Hilado dispute the Week 2 crown of the event sanctioned by the Philippine Tennis Association (Philta) at 10 a.m. today (Sunday).

    Heading to their championship duel, Otico and Pantino teamed up to defuse Japanese Kei Manaka and Yamanaka, 6-3, 6-4, and claim the doubles crown.

    Shaira Rivera, whose singles bid ended in a 3-6, 1-6 setback to Week I champion American Nicole Hammond in the quarterfinals, partnered with last week’s runner-up Elizabeth Stevens, also of the US, to frustrate Thai Punnin Kovapitukted and Saki Oyama of Japan, 6-1, 7-5, for the girls’ doubles diadem.

    Oyama, meanwhile, foiled American Hammond’s drive for back-to-back singles crown as she hacked out a 6-2, 0-6, 6-2 victory to forge a title showdown with Kovapitukted, who stopped Australian Lisa Mays, 6-2, 7-6(7), in the other semis duel.


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