The Palawan Pawnshop-Palawan Express Pera Padala age-group tennis tournament kicks off its Sultan Kudarat leg today with the best and the brightest players in the region clashing for top honors at the Isulan Capitol Tennis Club.
Local aces Carlyn Bless Guarde, Minette Bentillo and Vince EJ Tugade set out to defend the home turf against a host of equally talented players, including Zambo Del Norte’s Sydney Enriquez, Zambo Del Sur’s Nilo Ledama and Wyn Dale Paglinawan, Davao’s Patricia Velez and John David Velez and Kylde Lagarde of Gen. Santos City.
The Madis sisters – Jazzelle and Tenielle, and Kabacan’s Reyman Saldivar are also likely to contend for the crown in their respective divisions in the Group 2 tournament sponsored by Palawan Pawnshop and presented by Slazenger and hosted by Gov. Pax Mangudadatu.
“This kind of cast virtually eliminates the so-called ‘home-court’ edge,” said Palawan Pawnshop president/CEO Bobby Castro. “This should guarantee a fierce showdown in most, if not all categories.”
The event, sanctioned by Philta and backed by Asiatraders Corp., exclusively distributor of Slazenger, the official ball, also serves as part of the Kalimudan Festival, according to PPS-PEPP event organizer and Sports Program Development director Bobby Mangunay,(0915-4046464.)
While Guarde and Patricia Velez are tipped to dispute the girls’ 16- and 18-U classes, Enriquez will be the marked player in the 14-U side, owing to her three-title romp in the Pagadian leg of the circuit last week.
The Salug, Zambo del Norte-native Enriquez will also see action in the 16-U division which also includes Danna Abad, Winona Cabardo and Nicole Ann Bautista while out to foil Enriquez in the 14-U class are Minette Bentillo, Angelica Novis, Jillian Manangking, Joanne Gornes, Jessica Carcueva, Febe Lagarde and Princess Cerbito.
Tugade and Lagarde, along with Wilfred Bentillo and Lordrenz Pacheco, head the boys’ 18-U roster. Tugade, Lagarde and Bentillo will also vie in the 16-U side along with Ledama, Bruce Hurtado, Arnel Retonio, Rad Buisan and Ronel Aboy.
John David Velez, meanwhile, shoots for a two-title feat as he topbills the 12- and 14-U categories with Cedric Pamplona, Steve Aton and Joross Manangking also fancied to vie for the 14-U plum and Pamplona, Zaldivar, Andre Sing and Aton joining the 12-U title hunt.
Tenielle Madis, on the other hand, and Saldivar are expected to clash for the 10-unisex diadem along with Jillian Manangking and Jasmen Kadalum. Madis, Manangking and Kadalum also spearhead the 12-U cast.