Junior tennis makes its restart in two years since the COVID-19 shutdown as the PPS-PEPP National Age Group 2 championships get under way today (Friday) with over 170 entries all geared up for action at LaPaz Plaza tennis courts in Iloilo City.
Nine age-group categories are on tap in the five-day tournament kicking off a busy 40-leg schedule of the country’s longest-running circuit put up to identify talents, particularly from the countryside, who could be trained and developed to become members of future national teams.
Althea Martinez and Alexa Milliam banner the girls’ 18-and-under cast while Nikhel Nowlakha and Benedict Santiago headline the premier division in the boys’ side of the event, which also drew leading and rising players from Puerto Princesa, Ormoc, Dumaguete, Cebu, Bacolod and Panay Island.
Therese Gauran and Kimi Brodeth spearhead the hunt in the girls’ 16-U class while Vincent Baisa and Elemar Sealza are the marked players in the boys’ side. Gauran also gained the top seeding in 14-U play with Alexandra Onte at No. 2.
Kurt Barrera and Rafael Santiago lead the boys’ 14-U field while Louraine Jallorina and Andrew Malbas, and Santiago and Clemente Barrera III loom as the players to beat in the 12-U division.
Theriz Pelayo and Frances Alcarde, meanwhile, gear up for a showdown in the 10-and-under category of the event backed by Palawan Pawnshop-Palawan Express Pera Padala president and CEO Bobby Castro in his continuing effort to put junior tennis back in the spotlight in new normal.
Also on tap in the event, sponsored by Mayor Jerry Trenas and supported by Dunlop, the official ball, and held under the auspices of the Unified Tennis Philippines and UTR (Universal Tennis Rating), is the Legends men’s doubles featuring four divisions, including the 40s, 50s, 60s and the Open.
For details, visit www.palawanpawnshoptennis.com.ph or contact event organizer and PPS-PEPP Sports Program Development director Bobby Mangunay at 0915-4046464.