Johnny Arcilla and Jose Maria Pague headline a stellar roster making up the Escudero Cup National Tennis Championship cast, both girding for fierce battle in their respective draws in pursuit of the singles Open crown at the Aera Tennis Club in San Pablo City, Laguna.
The top two ranked bets actually drew opening round byes today (Monday) but 14 other matches are on tap, ushering in the return of the Don Arsenio Escudero Sr. Cup after a long absence on the PPS-PEPP calendar.
Third seed Charles Kinaadman faces Jay Papa, No. 4 Vicente Anasta clashes with Riku Komiya, fifth-ranked Jed Olivarez tangles with Mateo Rivas, No. 6 John Mari Altiche collides with Arthur Arrogancia, seventh seed John Tomacruz mixes it up with Jeson Blando, and No. 8 Alexis Acabo tests Stephen Catipon’s mettle in the featured matches in the 32-player draw of the event organized by Aera Tennis Club, headed by president Raul de Vera and held in partnership with PPS-PEPP, led by president/CEO Bobby Castro, and the Escudero family.
But focus will be on the 10-time PCA Open champion and Davis Cup veteran Arcilla, who has stayed in top form through the years, winning five Open titles in the Palawan Pawnshop-sponsored circuit last year, including the season-ending Naga Open in Cebu last December.
But a slew of young guns are out to stop his run, led by Ipil, Zamboanga’s Pague, Kinaadman from Lapu-Lapu, Cebu, and Army’s Anasta, among others, guaranteeing a week-long battle of power and style in the Group A tournament backed by Rep. Loreto Amante, Converge, Mitsubishi Motors, Dunlop and Slazenger, which also serves as part of the UTP (United Tennis Philippines) and UTR (Universal Tennis Ranking).
Meanwhile, the juniors take center stage from Feb. 23-28, according to tournament organizer Bobby Mangunay, For details and listup, call 0915-4046464.