Vince EJ Tugade pulled off two hard-earned victories, including the premier boys’ diadem, to emerge the best among the best in the PPS-PEPP Olivarez Open regional age group 2017 at the Olivarez Sports Center in Sucat last Tuesday.
Tugade toppled No. 2 Klyde Lagarde, 6-2, 6-4, in the semis then upended top seed Marcus del Rosario, 6-4, 6-3, to snare 16-and-under crown. The top junior from Sultan Kudarat then wore down Gabriel Tiamson, 6-4, 7-6(9), to clinch the 18-U title and the MVP plum after posting the lone two-title feat in the Group 1 tournament spon-sored by Palawan Pawn-shop and presented by Slazenger.
Other winners in the event put up annually by Parañaque Mayor Edwin Olivarez, Rep. Eric Oliva-rez and Dr. Pablo Olivarez as part of their long-time commitment to help in the country’s talent-search were Davao’s Patricia Velez, Gennifer Pagente of Cagayan de Oro, Zambo-anga’s Sydney Ezra Enri-quez, Tiffany Nocos of Cebu, John David Velez of Davao, Agoo, La Union’s Marc Jarata, and Chad Cuizon, also from Cebu.
“Through the years, it has been the commitment of the Olivarez family to develop our players by providing top-notch tour-naments like this and we thank Palawan Pawnshop for the support and promo-tion of Philippine tennis nationwide through its year-long, nationwide cir-cuit,” said Mayor Olivarez.
Patricia Velez bested fellow Davaoeña Danna Abad, 6-3, 6-3, for the girls’ 18-U crown; Pagente also stunning top seed Abad, 6-2, 6-3, for the 16-U title; Enriquez trouncing April Bentillo for the 14-U diadem; and Nocos downing top seed Tenielle Madis, 7-5, 6-2, for the 12-U trophy.
“Watching the best junior players from the various PPS-PEPP regio-nal tournaments clash for the crown only inspires us to continue helping boost the country’s junior tennis program,” said Palawan Pawnshop president/CEO Bobby Castro.
John Velez, on the other hand, trampled Exe-quiel Jacutan, 6-3, 6-2, foe the boys’ 14-U plum; Jarata held off Sal Andre Lago, 6-3, 6-4, for the 12-U crown; and Cuizon out-steadied Madis, 4-5(5), 5-4(3), 4-1, for the 10-unisex diadem in the event backed by PPS-PEPP, Stronghold Insu-rance, Milestone Guaran-tee Assurance Corp. and Sterling Insurance Com-pany.
Bentillo and Lagarde, meanwhile, led the doubles winners, ruling the boys’ 18-U. Other victors were Aubrey Calma and Pa-gente (18-U); Angil Ba-laoing and John Velez (boys’ 14-U), April Bentillo and Enriquez (girls’ 14-U); and Madis and Sam Salaza (10-unisex).