Gaby Zoleta wore down top seed Denise Bernardo in a grueling third-set duel and hacked out a pulsating 6-1, 5-7, 15-13 victory as she matched Arianne Nillasca’s twin title romp in the Lucena leg of the Palawan Pawnshop-Palawan Express Pera Padala regional age group presented by Technifibre at the Ouans Resort Tennis Courts in Quezon yesterday.
Zoleta, a mainstay of the International School for Better Beginners-Lucena, recovered from a close second set setback but needed to toughen up in the decider to outlast Bernardo and snare the girls’ 14-and-under crown. She earlier took the 12-U diadem with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Julia Ignacio.
Nillasca, the top player of San Vicente National School-San Pablo, dominated sister Reisha, 6-0, 6-0, to run away with the 18-U plum moments after pocketing the 16-U title with a 6-1, 6-0 drubbing of Bernardo.
Magnus Gnilo, a San Beda-Taytay stalwart, stunned No. 2 Prince Salvacion, 4-0, 4-0, in the semis then upended top seed Thomas Bernardo, 6-2, 6-2, to snatch the 10-unisex crown in the Group 3 tournament sponsored by Palawan Pawnshop and organized by Philta headed by Paranaque Mayor Edwin Olivarez.
Sixth ranked Ron Amper, from Atimonan, Quezon, foiled Gnilo’s title bid in the 12-U section, scoring a 6-0, 6-2 win while RJ Virrey, from Enverga University-Lucena, thwarted Glenn Lagran, 6-0, 7-6(6) to claim the boys’ 14-U crown.
Local ace Kim Alcala, also from International School for Better Beginners, survived Ranz Javier, 6-4, 3-6, 10-7, to capture the boys’ premier 18-U plum while Javier, also from Enverga U, stopped Virrey, 6-2, 2-6, 10-8, to cop the 16-U diadem in the event which drew a huge field of over 200 players from San Pablo, Pitugo, Padre Burgos, Lucban, Catanuan, Perez, Gumaca, Atimonan, Luisiana, Quezon, Cavite, Los Banos, Lucena and Manila.
“The tight title duels and reversals only underscored the level playing field and Palawan Pawnshp is pleased with the progress being made by our young players through this series of tournaments nationwide,” said Palawan Pawnshop COO Bobby Castro.
Meanwhile, the 11th leg of the 38-stage circuit will be held March 26-31 at the Manila Polo Club in Forbes Park, Makati City. Registration is ongoing. For details, call Bobby Mangunay, PPS-PEPP Sports Program Development director, at 0915-4046464.(pr)