The region’s leading and rising junior players and members of the national pool take center stage in the next two weeks as they slug it out for top honors, ranking points and cash prizes in the Dagitab Tennis Festival at the City of Naga tennis courts in Naga City, Cebu.
Local ace Vhon Tudtud, coming off a victory in the PPS-PEPP Argao leg last week, tries to make it back-to-back in the boys’ premier division with Troy Llamas, Paul Coderos and Mark Albarracin and the rest in the 32-player draw out to foil his title drive.
Bless Coderos also guns for another win in the girls’ 18-U side and like Tudtud, the Consolacion, Cebu bet will have her hands full against the likes of Elizabeth Abarquez, Hazel Coderos and Joanne Taganile in the Group 2 event hosted by Naga City Mayor Kristine Vanessa Chiong and the various LGUs.
Over 220 entries are seeing action in the juniors division which got under way yesterday (Thursday) with matches in all boys’ section (18-, 16-, 14-, 12-) and 10-unisex where Gio Monito from Parbo, Cebu is also eyeing a second straight victory after winning the crown in Argao.
Meanwhile, the qualifying rounds for the men’s and women’s singles in the Open division will be held today (Friday) and tomorrow with action in the main draw also set to start tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon, according to PPS-PEPP Sports Program Development director and organizer Bobby Mangunay. For details, call 09154046464.
Back in juniors play, Ashley McKenzie sets out for another two-title feat in the girls’ 14- and 16-U categories after upending fancied rivals in the Argao stop of the country’s premier talent-search sponsored by Palawan Pawnshop headed by president/CEO Bobby Castro and presented by Slazenger.
But to score a repeat, McKenzie will have to pass through Hazel Coderos and Lyrah Repollo, among others, and if she ever hurdles the two seeded bets, she will still have the likes ot Avril Suace and Alexa Milliam to hurdle in the upper half of the 14-U draw.
Abarquez, Milliam, Repollo and Coderos are also the players to beat in the 16-U side of the tournament backed by the Unified Tennis Philippines, including PPS-PEPP, Cebuana Lhuillier, Wilson, Toby’s, Dunlop, Slazenger and B-Meg.
Keen competition is also seen in the boys’ side with Llamas, John David Velez, Nikhel Nowlakha and Jericho Otico headlining the 16-U section, Velez, Nowlakha and Otico among the fancied players in the 14-U category that includes Jude Padao.