Multi-titled national team mainstay Jeson Patrombon sets out for a title-retention drive in the centerpiece Open class while the country’s leading and rising junior campaigners slug it out for top honors in their side of the duel in the PPS-PEPP Fr. Fernando Suarez Open Championships which gets under way Friday (July 19) at the Brent Tennis Center in Biñan, Laguna.
The two-weekend tournament kicking off the second half of the Palawan Pawnshop-Palawan Express Pera Padala tennis season also features the Legends division featuring the men’s doubles in the 40s and 50s age categories with the other playdates on July 20, 21, 26, 27 and 28.
Patrombon smothered fellow Davis Cupper Johnny Arcilla to rule the inaugural staging of the event held in honor of healing priest Fr. Suarez, who is also a tennis buff, in Bulacan last year. Fr. Suarez will also see action in the pro-am competition with Leander Lazaro.
Though Arcilla won’t be around to honor a previous commitment, the depth of the competing field remains as talent-laden as ever with the likes of Vicente Anasta, Fritz Verdad, Mark Alcoseba, Noel Damian Jr., Rodolfo Barquin, Eric Jed Olivarez and Lazaro ready and eager to stop Patrombon.
Meanwhile, to accommodate the big number of entries wishing to play in the Open, a qualifying will be held also on Friday for the four remaining berths in the main 32-player draw of the event sanctioned by the Unified Tennis Philippines made up of PPS-PEPP, Cebuana Lhuillier, Wilson, Toby’s, Dunlop, Slazenger and B-Meg.
Palawan Pawnshop president/CEO Bobby Castro also praised Fr. Suarez’s all-out support to the sport, adding it further inspires them to put up more and more tournaments for the youth as well as members of the national pool and team to help prepare them for various international competitions.
From Laguna, the country’s biggest, longest-running circuit moves to Leyte for the PPS-PEPP Mayor Nikko Mercado/MCF Global leg on Aug. 1-5 at the Maasin City Tennis Club before Baybay Tennis Club stages the next leg on Aug. 8-11, according to PPS-PEPP Sports Program Development director Bobby Mangunay. Listup is going. For details, call 0915-4046464.
Fierce action is also seen in junior play, which offers titles in nine age categories, including the premier 18-and-under division headed by Gaby Zoleta, Mica Emana, Julia Ignacio and Margaud Rosales (girls) and Leyton Portin, Angelo Mates, Allen Rombawa and Jester Ocio (boys).
Zoleta, Emana, Ignacio and Rosales are also tipped to dispute the 16-U diadem along with Melody Dizon, France Idjao, Shedyl Gica and Jiana Hernandez while Exequiel Jucutan and Thomas Bernardo lead the chase in the boys’ 16-U side that also includes Ocio and Rombawa.