Arcilla favored as Fr. Suarez Open tennis tournament unfolds

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Arcilla favored as Fr. Suarez Open tennis tournament unfolds

Johnny Arcilla of Cebuana Luihiller-Philippine Davis cup team return a shot against Pakistani top player Aqeel Khan at the start of Asian-Oceania Zone Group II at the Philippine Columbian Associaiton(PCA) clay courts. Arcilla won straight sets, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3. PHOTO BY ALBERT GARCIA

Davis Cup veteran Johnny Arcilla earns the No. 1 seeding as the top guns anchor the country’s campaign in the 31st SEA Games in Vietnam, drawing Mimo Tomacruz in the opener of the Fr. Fernando Suarez M-Cup Open Tennis Championship, which got under way yesterday (Tuesday) in Malabon City.

Seven other tough matches usher in the first Open men’s singles tournament since Jeson Patrombon foiled Jed Olivarez in three in the PPS-PEPP Olivarez Cup last March, which marked the tennis restart after a two-year hiatus due to the global health crisis.

Patrombon, however, isn’t around to shoot for another crown as he spearheads the PH medal drive in the ongoing Hanoi Games along with Casey Alcantara, Ruben Gonzales, Treat Huey and Eric Olivarez, Jr.

The Iligan City ace is also sorely missed in this week’s championship, held in honor of the late healing priest and tennis buff who launched this event many years ago, and which Patrombon has ruled three times.

“Despite Patrombon and company’s absence, we still expect a spirited chase for top honors in this event honoring the memory of Fr. Suarez, an avid player and staunch tennis supporter,” said Bobby Castro, president/CEO of the organizing Palawan Pawnshop-Palawan Express Pera Padala, which also bankrolls the country’s longest-running junior tennis circuit.

Second seed Vicente Anasta, meanwhile, faces Wilson Oblea, No. 3 Leander Lazaro slugs it out with Lance Fernandez and fourth-ranked Fritz Verdad tests Eurydice Gaspar’s mettle at the Malabon Tennis Club’s shell court.

Other matches pit Alberto Villamor versus Loucas Fernandez, Noel Damian, Jr. against Jeremiah Macias IiI, Jarell Edangga versus Jet Tangalin, and John Altiche against Russell Arcilla, jr.

Up for grabs in the five-day event, presented by Dunlop and backed by Slazenger and sanctioned by the Unified Tennis Philippines and UTR (Universal Tennis Rating), is the top P30,000 purse with the runner-up pocketing P15,000.

Arcilla, a nine-time PCA Open champion, also teams up with Villamor in the men’s doubles, which offers a top prize of P20,000, with Anasta partnering with Gaspar, Lazaro with Russell Arcilla, Jr. and Verdad with Lance Fernandez.