The Palawan Pawnshop-Palawan Express Pera Padala regional age-group tennis circuit resumes in Davao beginning today (Thursday, March 16) with the Philippine Sports Commission as presentor of the Group 2 tournament at the GSIS Tennis Club.
Close to 200 entries are competing in various divisions in the five-day tournament hosted by LTFRB chairman Atty. Martin Delgra III, also the president of the GSIS Heights Tennis Club, and held as part of the PSC’s commitment to support youth sports through chairman Butch Ramirez.
The region’s leading junior players and a slew of rising stars banner this week’s field, including Sultan Kudarat’s Carlyn Guarde and Davao’s Danna Abad and Patricia Velez, who are expected to slug it out for top honors in the girls’ premier 18-and-under division along with Winona Cabardo.
Guarde, Abad and Cabardo, together with Jazzelle Madis of Mlang, are also expected to dispute the 16-U plum in the event sponsored by Palawan Pawnshop, presented by Slazenger and sanctioned by Philta and held in conjunction with the Araw ng Dabaw celebrations.
“PSC’s support is a big boost not only to junior tennis but to youth sports in general,” said Palawan Pawnshop president/CEO Bobby Castro. “Although the regular campaigners have the edge in terms of experience, we also expect some surprises that have been the norm in the circuit with so many young, new faces emerging from each leg.”
Keen competition is also seen in the boys’ side with Vince Tugade and Ramon Bentillo, also from Isulan, Sultan Kudarat, and Klyde Lagarde from Gen. Santos City, leading the title chase in the 16- and 18-U sections with the likes of Nicole Gorospe, John Velez, Earjan Casal, Karl Palo and Bruce Hurtado out to topple the fancied bets.
John Velez, Cedric Pamplona, Andre Sing and Palo (boys) and April Bentillo, Ma. Angelica Novis of Malita, Davao del Sur, Jillian Manangking and Thea Tobias (girls) head the 14-U cast while Reyman Saldivar Jr., Joji Taketomi, Pamplona and Sing along with Tennielle Madis, Manangking, Poula Taketomi and Jasmen Kadalum are the players to watch in the 12-U category.
The battle for the 10-unisex diadem is also too close to call among Tennielle Madis, Joji Taketomi, Reicy Bentillo and Shaun Globasa but 12 others are raring to show their wares and vie for the coveted crown.