Vince Serna goes all out for redemption while Ariel Cabaral tries to live up to his top billing as they try to prick Brice Baisa’s growing bubble in the PPS-PEPP National tennis juniors championships, which resumed in Bacolod Thursday.
The top seeded Serna dropped a 5-7, 3-6 setback to Baisa in the 18-U finals of the PPS-PEPP leg in Roxas City, completing the latter’s stirring back-to-back title romps in the premier division and the 16-U class after first scoring a twinkill in Iloilo.
But Serna, from Butuan City, has re-calibrated to guarantee a successful shot at the crown with Cabaral, along with Herman Illusorio and Kirby Ramacho also vying in the centerpiece division of the Group 2 tournament where Baisa is one of the unranked entries.
Cabaral also gets the top seeding in 16-U play with Baisa earning the No. 8 seed in the 32-player draw that includes No. 3 Kurt Barrera, third ranked Kenzo Brodeth, Reign Maravilla, Bonavent Castillo, Jeremy Napiere and Ramacho.
The country’s longest talent-search, put up by Palawan Pawnshop president/CEO Bobby Castro, moves to Bais City, Negros Oriental on Feb. 2-7. For listup and details, contact tournament organizer Bobby Mangunay at 0915-4046464.
The chase for top honors in the distaff side at the Helvetia and Panaad courts is also expected to be fierce with Jufe-Ann Cocoy, Hannah Divinagracia, Therese Gauran and Louchelaj Estember tipped to dispute the 18-U trophy in the week-long event presented by Dunlop and sponsored by Mayor Albee Benitez.
Divinagracia also heads the cast 16-U cast, along with Masters Top 8 and PPS-Roxas leg MVP Jana Diaz, Gauran and Estember while Alexa Cruspero, Queen Villa, Kathlyn Bugna and Andrea Agravante lead the 14-U field in the event backed by Claudio Puentevella, president of the Bacolod City Tennis Association.
Meanwhile, Benitez, in his effort to boost the sport and discover and develop players who could represent the country in future international competitions, has linked up with former mayor and sportsman Monico Puentevella to bring back the glory days of Negros Occidental Tennis Association, which has hosted major championships in the 80s and 90s that featured the country’s top netters, including the Davis Cuppers.