Top seed Clarice Patrimonio and fourth pick Maia Balce stopped their respective rivals in the semifinals to earn spots in the ladies’ singles championship round of the 34th Philippine Columbian Association (PCA) Open-Cebuana Lhuillier Wildcard Event on Saturday at the PCA clay courts in Paco, Manila.
Patrimonio dug deep as she extinguished No. 3 Edilyn Balanga’s fiery attempt to bounce back in the second set, 6-2, 7-6 (5).
“Gumanda yung laro ni Eds. Nakuha niya ‘yung game ko sa second set kaya nag-adjust lang ako and luckily I got it,” Patrimonio said.
The 21-year-old Patrimonio aims for her first title after finishing second in 2011, and 2013 in the event supported by Cebuana Lhuillier, Puma, Dunlop, The Philippine Star, Head, Babolat, Compass/IMOSTI and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao.
The task of breaking the Patrimonio PCA title curse now falls heavily on Clarice’s shoulder after her older sister Christine failed to keep up with the 17-year-old Balce, 7-6 (4), 6-3.
Balce’s ability to keep calm under intense pressure gave her the edge over the 23-year-old Christine.
“Hindi ko ipinakita frustration ko every time na may error ako. Mas naging patient ako lalo na sa second set, sinabayan ko lang siya then pag may chance na umatake saka ko papaluan,” said Balce, a fourth year student at St. Paul University in Pasig City.
The Patrimonio-Balce finals duel will begin at 11 a.m.
“Isang beses ko pa lang siyang [Balce] nakalaban. We’ll see. I’ll just do my best,” said Clarice, the reigning Most Valuable Player in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines.
In men’s singles play, defending champion Patrick John Tierro will square off with boy wonder Alberto ‘AJ’ Lim at 1 p.m. today in the tournament supported by Whirlpool/Fujidenzo, Broadway Motor Sales Corp. Coca-Cola Femsa Philippines, Tyrecorp Incorporated, Pearl Garden Hotel, Metro Global Holdings Corporation, Avida, PVL Restaurant, Mary Grace Foods, Inc., Seno Hardware and Wire Rope Corporation.
Tierro and Lim both earned automatic tickets to the main draw of the upcoming 2015 Manila International Tennis Federation (ITF) Men’s Futures Leg 2 set on October 12.
Veteran netters Johnny Arcilla, Elbert Anasta, Marc Anthony Alcoseba, Francis Casey Alcantara, Rolando Ruel Jr., and Ronard Joven will try their luck in the qualifying round.The winners between Arcilla-Tierro and Alcantara-Joven in the doubles division will be given spots in the ITF main 16-pair main draw.
A total of P172,000 is up for grabs this year with the men’s single champ taking the top purse of P50,000, while the runner-up gets P25,000. The ladies singles titlist and runner-up will take home P20,000 and P10,000,