John David Velez and Alexa Milliam opened the new PPS-PEPP tennis season the way they ended it last year—in winning fashion, as they scored a pair of contrasting victories each in the Actifit Open national age-grouper at the Actifit Sports Center in Valenzuela City recently.
Velez held off a tough Abraham Lawyer, 6-3, 6-4 to claim the boys’ 16-and-under crown then survived Loucas Fernandez, 3-6, 6-1, 10-5, to pocket the 18-U diadem in the Group I tournament which served as the kickoff leg of this year’s circuit sponsored by Palawan Pawnshop-Palawan Express Pera Padala.
Milliam, on the other hand, dominated her side of the event presented by Dunlop, blasting top seed Marielle Jarata, 6-1, 6-1, in the girls’ 14-U finals and thumping Renee Esteban, 6-1, 6-0, for the 16-U plum in the event co-organized by John Mari Altiche.
“Velez and Milliam continue to serve as inspiration to their fellow players, particularly to the younger ones with their work ethics and determination coming off the holiday break,” said Palawan Pawnshop president/CEO Bobby Castro, who has lined up a record 70-leg circuit this year.
Meanwhile, top seed Jason Patrombon and No. 2 Johnny Arcilla trounced their respective rivals to lead the march of the fancied bets in the Open men’s singles, including Rodolfo Barquin, Fritz Verdad, Rolando Ruel Jr. and Deo Talatayod.
Milliam and Velez’s romps came on the heels of their impressive feats last year with the former from Pontevedra, Negros Occidental and the Davaoeño ace dominating the last quarter of last year’s edition of the country’s biggest talent-search.
Other winners in the event backed by Liquid Gold Wine & Spirits, Ayala Amity Centennial Lions Club, Skin Rejuve and Calle Café, were Xavier School’s Agustin Bartolome, Sta. Rosa, Laguna’s Frank Dilao, San Favian, Pangasinan’s Jeowny Pascua, La Union’s Marielle Jarata and San Carlos City’s Bliss Bayking.
Bartolome toppled Christella Lamera, 4-1, 4-1, in 10-unisex; Dilao edged Zandre Mina, 6-4, 7-6(6), in boys’ 12-U; Pascua crushed Carlo Solo, 6-0, 6-2, in boys’ 14-U; Jarata whipped Sophia Moreno, 6-0, 6-1, in girls’ 12-U; and Bayking ripped Denise Bernardo, 6-1, 6-0, in girls’ 18-U.