Arthur Pantino and Michael Eala hope to buck the odds as they go all-out to snap a long spell by the local boys in the 2017 Phinma-PSC Juniors Tennis Championships, which unfolds Tuesday (Nov. 14) at the Manila Polo Club in Forbes Park.
Although Khim Iglupas has kept the country in the mix with her string of victories in the girls’ side of the Group 4 ITF (International Tennis Federation) 18-and-under event, the local boys have struggled the last few years in the face of tough opposition, particularly from the Japanese and Taiwanese rivals.
But Pantino, 16, and Eala, 15, along with the other Filipino boys, are all geared up for the two-week championship, ready to do battle against a crack international field and chase ITF ranking points in the event sponsored by the Philippine Investment Management Consultants (Phinma) and sanctioned by the Philippine Tennis Association (Philta).
Meanwhile, Manuel Balce III and Matthew Garcia join Pantino and Eala in the 22-player draw with the remaining slots in the 32-man draw to be disputed by a slew of aspirants in the two-day qualifying round beginning today (Sunday), according to tournament director Chris Cuarto with Malaysian Razmee Rawi as the tournament referee.
Week I will be played on Nov. 14-19 while Week 2 will be held on Nov. 21-26 with the two-day elims slated on Nov. 19-20 and the sign-in deadline set on Nov. 13 at 6 p.m., also at the MPC.
Meanwhile, with Iglupas, now 19, out of the event, Rafaella Villanueva, Melanie DIzon and Bea Ace will try to carry the cudgels for the Phl girls in the championship backed by Technifiber ball as official ball, official hotel Jinjiang Inn, Makati and the Philippine Sports Commission.
India’s Megh Patel, Japanese Shunsuke Mitsui and Pantino gain the top three seedings in the boys’ side while Lisa Mays of Australia, Taiwanese Chang Ting-pei and Chinese Xuanjin Li headline the girls’ side that also includes Hong Kong’s Wing Ka Lin and Japanese Yuna Ohashi.