Marielle Jarata hopes to ride the momentum of her two-title romp in Baguio as she headlines the big field in the Palawan Pawnshop-Palawan Express Pera Padala Agoo, La Union leg tennis tournament, which got under way at the Don Mariano Marcos tennis courts yesterday.
Close to 200 players are vying for top honors in nine singles categories and five doubles events in the Group 2 event serving as the second leg of a four-stage Northern Luzon swing of the country’s biggest talent-search sponsored by Palawan Pawnshop and presented by Slazenger.
But focus will be on Jarata, the young Agoo, La Union star who will be hard-pressed to duplicate her victories in the 10-unisex and girls’ 12-and-under section before home crowd in the five-day event supported by the Unified Tennis Philippines, including PPS-PEPP, Cebuana Lhuillier, Wilson, Toby’s, Dunlop, Slazenger and B-Meg.
She gained the top seeding in the 10-U side that also drew Ezekiel Atos, Prince Lim and Kris Roque and remains the player to beat in the 12-U class where she is tipped to dispute the crown with Dynna Visaya.
Exequiel Jucutan, who also copped two titles in Baguio last week, faces an uphill battle this time as he settles for the No. 3 ranking in the boys’ 14-U division headed by Andre Jarata and Raphael Liangco with Joewyn Pascua, Eric Bajet, Justine Erpelo and Kurt Agustin also expected to contend.