Kale Cyd Villamar wore down Mcleen Gomera in a duel of unfancied bets and squeezed out a 6-2, 6-7(5), 10-8 decision in the boys’ 18-and-under final while Christine Gulagula took the girls’ crown in the PPS-PEPP national age-group tennis circuit at the Maranding, Lala courts in Lanao del Norte last Tuesday.
The 15-year-old Villamar earlier ended top seed Thomas Gabuat’s domination of the Mindanao swing with a 5-3, 4-0 victory in the semis then the Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte find recovered from a second set defeat with clutch hits in the decider to foil Gomera for his first victory in the Group 2 ranking tournament presented by Dunlop.
Gulagula, from Dapitan City, upended No. 2 AJ Acabo, 4-2, 0-4, 10-6, in the semis then routed Cielo Gonzales, 6-0, 6-0, to likewise post her first top podium finish in the country’s longest-running juniors tour sanctioned by the Unified Tennis Philippines and UTR (Universal Tennis Rating).
“The rise of new faces further underscored the level playing field with the circuit providing the exposure these youngsters needed to develop their skills and talent,” said Palawan Pawnshop president/CEO Bobby Castro.
Villamar, however, came up short in the 18-U finals, yielding to Tubod’s Christopher Sonsona, 3-6, 1-6, while top seed and streaking Ma. Judyann Padilla rebounded from his quarterfinal loss to Gonzales in 16-U play with a 6-3, 2-6, 13-11 escape over Angel Vosotros in the girls’ premier class.
Marlyn Mesiona of Sindangan, meanwhile, extended her domination of the girls’ 14-U division, picking her fifth straight win the hard way, 3-6, 6-3, 10-5, over Gonzales, while local bet Benedict Lim crushed Earl Albano, 6-3, 6-3, to clinch the boys’ title.
Gabrielle Bolado from Dipolog followed up her Liloy leg win with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Stephanie Omos in the 12-U category while Pazz Ursal from Suminot, Zambo del Sur ran away with the boys’ diadem with a 6-1, 6-1 demolition of Vanizer Acabo.
The chase for top honors and ranking points, meanwhile, resumed in Misamis Oriential for the Oroquieta City leg yesterday.