Jose Kael Palo pulled off a two-title romp in boys’ play while Dhea Cua extended her domination of the girls’ 14-and-under class as the Kidapawan City bets stamped their class in the PPS-PEPP Aqua Verde national age-group tennis tournament in Bangkal, Davao City last Friday.
The top-seeded Palo, 14, ran off three lopsided victories in the upper half of the full-packed 64-player draw then repelled No. 2 Jeson Battad of Davao del Norte, 4-6, 6-1, 10-6, in the finals to rule his age division. He then bucked the odds in the 16-U category, escaping with another three-setter, 6-3, 0-6, 10-5, over Clayton Neri in the semis before trouncing local bet Nathan Agus, 6-3, 6-1, to complete a double victory in the Group 1 event presented by Dunlop at the Aqua Verde courts.
Cua, on the other hand, extended her win run in the 14-U category, blasting Tagum City’s Faith Lazaro, 6-1, 6-2, but the talented youngster fell short of her bid in the 16-U finals, bowing to Cotabato’s Djoanna Natano, 4-6, 4-6, in the week-long event put up by Palawan Pawnshop president/CEO Bobby Castro and which drew a record over 300 participants in eight age categories.
Other winners in the country’s longest-running talent search supported by ProtekTODO, PalawanPay, the Unified Tennis Philippines and UTR (Universal Tennis Rating) were Herald Aton, also from Kidapawan, Andrei Otoc from Pigcawayan, Cotabato, Digos City’s Juliana Carvajal and Reighm Maglana from Maragusan, Davao de Oro.
Aton subdued Derek Napala from Gen. Santos City in a duel of unranked bets, snaring a 3-6, 7-5, 10-4 victory for the boys’ 18-U crown; Otoc held off Xhyrus Lozano, also from Maragusan, 7-6(6), 6-1, for the 12-U diadem; the second seeded Carvajal routed Mae Palac from Davao, 6-1, 6-1, for the girls’ premier title; and Maglana trampled Maragusan’s Angela Casanova, 6-2, 6-1, for the girls’ 12-U trophy.