Carlyn Bless Guarde and Vince EJ Tugade gear up for a tough outing as they go for a two-title sweep in their respective divisions in the Palawan Pawnshop-Palawan Express Pera Padala Tuna Festival regional age-group tennis championship unfolding Friday at the Gen. Santos City Tennis Club.
Guarde and Tugade are the top seeds in the 16- and 18-and-under divisions with the top junior players from Isulan, Sultan Kudarat all primed up for the twin crowns against a field teeming with talents in the Group 5 tournament sponsored by the country’s leading pawnshop, remittance and claim center Palawan Pawnshop and presented by Slazenger.
Guarde, 15, faces the likes of Davao’s Patricia Velez, Dana Abad, Jazelle Madis and Winona Cabardo in both sections while Tugade brace for a showdown for both crowns either against Janus Ringia, Kylde Lagarde or Wilfred Bentillo.
Twelve-year-old Minettle April Bentillo, meanwhile, heads the girls’ 14-U cast that includes Ma. Angelica Novis, Febe Lagarde and Princess Cerbito and is the top bet in her division which also features Tennielle Madis, Jilian Managking and Paula Taketomi.
“While Guarde and Tugade look poised to dominate, we expect a number of reversals with a lot of young players eager to prove their worth even against the fancied bets in the fold,” said Palawan Pawnshop president/CEO Bobby Castro.
John David Velez, also a 12-year-old rising star from Davao, banners the boys’ 14-U field that also drew Nikhel Nowlakha, Earljan Casal, Jorros Managking and Cedric Pamplona. He also heads the 12-U cast along with Nowlakha, Pamplona, Managking and Reyman Saldivar Jr.
Tennielle Madis and Salvidar, on the other hand, are the players to beat in the 10-unisex side of the tournament backed by Asiatraders Corp., exclusively distributor of Slazenger, the official ball.
The four-day event also serves as a prelude to the Tuna Festival Open set Sept. 5-10 which features the country’s leading players, including recent Olivarez Cup Open champion and defending titlist Johnny Arcilla and last week’s PCA Open titlist Patrick John Tierro.
Listup is ongoing. For details, contact Bobby Mangunay, PPS-PEPP Regional Age Group Tennis Event organizer and Sports Program Development director at 0915-4046464.
The Tuna Festival is the first of three major Open tournaments on the PPS-PEPP calendar, the two others being the Pintaflores Festival Open on October 31 to November 6 and the Dagitab Festival Open on December 18 to 22.