Vince EJ Tugade pulled off two hard-earned victories, including the premier boys’ diadem, to emerge the best among the best in the PPS-PEPP Olivarez Open regional age group 2017 at the Olivarez Sports Center in Sucat last Tuesday.
Tugade toppled No. 2 Klyde Lagarde, 6-2, 6-4, in the semis then upended top seed Marcus del Rosario, 6-4, 6-3, to snare 16-and-under crown. The top junior from Sultan Kudarat then wore down Gabriel Tiamson, 6-4, 7-6(9), to clinch the 18-U title and the MVP plum after posting the lone two-title feat in the Group 1 tournament sponsored by Palawan Pawnshop and presented by Slazenger.
Other winners in the event put up annually by Parañaque Mayor Edwin Olivarez, Rep. Eric Olivarez and Dr. Pablo Olivarez as part of their long-time commitment to help in the country’s talent-search were Davao’s Patricia Velez, Gennifer Pagente of Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga’s Sydney Ezra Enriquez, Tiffany Nocos of Cebu, John David Velez of Davao, Agoo, La Union’s Marc Jarata, and Chad Cuizon, also from Cebu.
“Through the years, it has been the commitment of the Olivarez family to develop our players by providing top-notch tournaments like this and we thank Palawan Pawnshop for the support and promotion of Philippine tennis nationwide through its year-long, nationwide circuit,” said Mayor Olivarez.
Patricia Velez bested fellow Davaoeña Danna Abad, 6-3, 6-3, for the girls’ 18-U crown; Pagente also stunning top seed Abad, 6-2, 6-3, for the 16-U title; Enriquez trouncing April Bentillo for the 14-U diadem; and Nocos downing top seed Tenielle Madis, 7-5, 6-2, for the 12-U trophy.
“Watching the best junior players from the various PPS-PEPP regional tournaments clash for the crown only inspires us to continue helping boost the country’s junior tennis program,” said Palawan Pawnshop president/CEO Bobby Castro.
John Velez, on the other hand, trampled Exequiel Jacutan, 6-3, 6-2, foe the boys’ 14-U plum; Jarata held off Sal Andre Lago, 6-3, 6-4, for the 12-U crown; and Cuizon out-steadied Madis, 4-5(5), 5-4(3), 4-1, for the 10-unisex diadem in the event backed by PPS-PEPP, Stronghold Insurance, Milestone Guarantee Assurance Corp. and Sterling Insurance Company.
Bentillo and Lagarde, meanwhile, led the doubles winners, ruling the boys’ 18-U. Other victors were Aubrey Calma and Pagente (18-U); Angil Balaoing and John Velez (boys’ 14-U), April Bentillo and Enriquez (girls’ 14-U); and Madis and Sam Salaza (10-unisex).