PPS-PEPP Tunafest Open draws stellar cast

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Francis Casey Alcantara and Khim Iglupas brace for a tough outing as they gun for a follow-up to their Olivarez Cup title romps in the Palawan Pawnshop-Palawan Express Pera Padala Tuna Festival Open, which gets going Tuesday (Sept. 1) at the Gen. Santos City courts in Gen. Santos City.

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Alcantara humbled fellow Davis Cupper PJ Tierro in four to capture the men’s Open singles crown while Iglupas dominated Marian Capadocia to annex her second straight ladies plum in the recent Olivarez Cup. But the duo will be hard-pressed to string another pair of wins with Tierro and Capadocia back in the hunt along with the country’s leading players and rising stars.

They include three-time Olivarez Cup champion Johnny Arcilla, Elberto Anasta, Ronard Joven, Kyle Dandan, Marc Reyes and Mark Alcoseba, ensuring a slam-bang duel in the week-long event sponsored by Palawan Pawnshop and hosted by the country’s tuna capital.

“This is going to be another thrilling battle for the crown not only in the men’s side but also in the ladies division with all our top players competing,” said Palawan Pawnshop COO Bobby Castro.

Tierro outlasted Arcilla in three to win the Tunafest Open crown last year but with Alcantara in top form and the rest of the cast raring to prove their worth, a fierce battle looms for the championship and the top P40,000 purse.

Meanwhile, Monica Therese Cruz also joins the title chase in the ladies Open singles of the top-level tournament sanctioned by the Philippine Tennis Association along with Christine Patrimonio, Marinel Rudas, Jzash Canja, Marian Jade Capadocia, Clarisse Patrimonioa and Hannah Grace Espinosa.

Also on tap is the mixed doubles, where Arcilla and Joven are the defending champions, and the age-group competitions, according to Bobby Mangunay, PPS-PEPP Sports Program Development director.

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