Multi-titled John David Velez resumes his age-group campaign at home, upbeat of pulling of another two-title sweep even as Ma. Angelica Novis tries to make it three-in-row in the PPS-PEPP MCF Global National tennis tournament, which got under way at the GSIS Tennis Club in Davao City yesterday (March 14).
Velez dominated the Actifit Open in Valenzuela City last January then took a break from the Palawan Pawnshop-Palawan Express Pera Padala to hone up by competing in other tournaments, making the Davaoeño star the player to beat in the Group 1 tournament serving as part of the Davao’s 82nd anniversary celebrations.
The five-day event, featuring the leading and upcoming junior players from the host city and nearby cities and provinces, is also held in partnership with the Mac’s Crankit Foundation, a non-profit organization from Australia whose aim is to help change lives and empower underprivileged communities through sports.
“The MCF has backed the PPS-PEPP circuit the last few years, conducting clinics and holding teachers/coaches conferences in various regions in its continuing effort to help boost Phl tennis and help produce future champions,” said Palawan Pawnshop president/CEO Bobby Castro.
Novis, meanwhile, sets out for another sweep of the girls’ 16- and 18-U crowns following her romps in Digos and Tagum the last two weeks of the Mindanao swing of the circuit sanctioned by the Unified Tennis Philippines made up of PPS-PEPP, Cebuana Lhuillier, Wilson, Toby’s, Dunlop, Slazenger and B-Meg.
But the Malita ace faces stiff challenge from the likes of siblings Juliana and Coleen Carvajal, Zkyla Cervantes and Theresa Nacito with Juliana Carvajal leading the title chase in the 14-U class along with Jemarie Manggarai, Khirylle Saldivar and Chelsea Bernaldez, who, on the other hand, gains the top seeding in the 12-U play.
Out to foil Velez’s bid are Bruce Hurtado, Ryan Alga and Khobe Dumlao in the boys’ premier 18-and-under division and Andrei Lago from Sogod Leyte and Nikhel Nowlakha from Iloilo in the 16-U play of the tournament presented by Dunlop.
Puerto Princesa’s Kendrick Bona, on the other hand, also seeks titles in the 12- and 14-U categories against the likes of Nicholas Tan from Dipolog, Ben Flores, James Aquino, Reyman Saldivar Jr. and Andre Sing.