Johnny Arcilla exudes confidence as he sets out for his title-retention drive against a crack field toughened up by the presence of a slew of young guns ready to prove their worth in the PPS-PEPP Gov. Alfonso Umali Cup Tennis Championship firing off today at the Bahaghari Tennis Club in Oriental Mindoro.
Arcilla bested fellow Davis Cupper and doubles partner Jeson Patrombon, 6-3, 6-4, to reign here last year but the veteran campaigner braces for a tough campaign this time given the depth of the 32-player men’s field clashing for the top P40,000 purse in the week-long event held in conjunction with the Pinamalayan Festival celebrations.
Patrombon gains the top seeding with Arcilla at No. 2 but the likes of Leander Lazaro, Mark Alcoseba, Noel Damian, Deo Talatayod, Fritz Verdad and Rodolfo Barquin, Kim Saraza and John Mari Altiche are going all out to spring a surprise or two against the field’s top guns in what promises to be a thrilling battle of power and endurance.
Also on tap in the event sponsored by Gov. Umali and the provincial government of Oriental Mindoro is the doubles competition with the Arcilla-Patrombon tandem looming as the team to beat with the Alcoseba-Damian, Lazaro-Verdad and Joseph Arcilla-Talatayod pairs raring to foil the fancied team’s bid in the event serving as part of the nationwide, year-long circuit Palawan Pawnshop-Palawan Express Pera Padala headed by president/CEO Bobby Castro and presented by Dunlop.
The Umali Cup Open also comes on the heels of the twin staging of junior tournaments in Oriental Mindoro and Pangasinan sanctioned by the Unified Tennis Philippines made up of PPS-PEPP, Cebuana Lhuillier, Wilson, Toby’s, Dunlop, Slazenger and B-Meg as part of PPS-PEPP’s talent-search.