A slew of aces from Manila, Visayas and Mindanao make up the star-studded field vying for top honors in the Palawan Pawnshop-Palawan Express Pera Padala San Carlos leg regional tennis 2016 which got under way on Thursday at the Sakata Tennis Club in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental.
Cenon Gonzales Jr. and Marcus del Rosario from Manila, Norman Enriquez, Chad Cuizon and Venz Alforque from Cebu, Nicholas Ocat from Ormoc, Drixcyn Guillano from Roxas City, Bacolod’s Pete Rodriguez and siblings Fernando and Fern Po, Khenz Justiniani and Karl Baran from La Carlota, Dumaguete’s Ibarra Ortega Jr.,Vince EJ Tugade from Sultan Kudarat and Gen. Santos City’s Klyde Lagarde gear up for a fierce battle in various divisions of the Group 2 tournament sponsored by Palawan Pawnshop and presented by Slazenger.
Local ace Bliss Bayking, fresh from her three-title romp in Bacolod last week, is expected to draw inspiration from the hometown crowd as she heads the field in the girls’ 14-and-under division of the top-ranking event sanctioned by Philta and backed by Asiatraders Corp., exclusively distributor of Slazenger, the official ball, and held as part of the host city’s Pintaflores Festival.
“We are inviting all tennis aficionados and fans to watch the 24th staging of the Pintaflores Tennis Festival, a showcase of talents not just from the host city but from all over,” said San Carlos City Mayor Gerardo Valmayor Jr., who also cited the all-out support of local organizer councilor Criston Carmona and the LGUs of San Carlos.
Close to 300 entries are seeing action in the boys’ and girls’ 12-, 14, 16- and 18-U categories and 10 unisex with Tracy Llamas, Alexa Milliam and Kiana de Asis leading the bets from La Carlota, along with Elsie Abarquez from Cebu, Gennifer Pagente from Cagayan de Oro, Diane Perez from Bais and Ellaine Bahunsua from Siquijor.
“We are overwhelmed by the tremendous response of these young players which only inspires us to put up more and more tournaments nationwide with the sport’s base growing and expanding,” said Palawan Pawnshop president/CEO Bobby Castro.
Organizers, in fact, have tapped four more venues to accommodate the big number of entries in the event, which also serves as a prelude to the Pintaflores Open which features the men’s and women’s singles and mixed doubles starting Oct. 31.
Davis Cup veteran Johnny Arcilla, who swept the PPS-PEPP Open tournaments last year, heads the elite cast that includes fellow national team mainstay PJ Tierro along with Vicente Anasta, Leander Lazaro, Fritz Verdad, Marc Reyes, Arvin Ruel and Roel Capangpanga.
Olivarez Cup champion Khim Iglupas and former PCA Open champion Clarice Patrimonio head the women’s field that also drew young guns Shaira Rivera, Hanna Espinosa, Akiko de Guzman, Erika Manduriao, Chloe Mae Saraza and Rachele de Guzman.
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