Close to 200 entries from various provinces in the Soccsksargen region and nearby cities gear up for a fierce showdown for top honors and ranking points in the PPS-PEPP Sultan Kudarat regional age-group tennis tournament starting today at the Isulan Capitol Tennis Courts.
Klyde Lagarde from Gen. Santos City, local bets Ramon Bentillo and Minette Bentillo, and Jazelle Madis from Mlang banner the cast in the centerpiece 18-and-under division of the Group 2 tournament put up by Palawan Pawnshop-Palawan Express Pera Padala and presented by Dunlop.
The tournament, hosted and sponsored by Gov. Pax Mangudadatu, also features the rising and leading players from Mlang, Pikit, Kabacan, Kidapawan, Digos, Gen. Santos City, Koronadal, Davao, Malita and Salug, Zamboanga del Norte.
Karl Palo and Jay Balaoing, on the other hand, lead the boys’ field in the 16-U play while Minette Bentillo along with Angelica Novis, Jalia Elumba and Ezra Enriquez are tipped to slug it out for the girls’ 16-U crown in the four-day tournament backed by Asiatraders Corp. and sanctioned by the Unified Tennis Philippines, made up of PPS-PEPP, Cebuana Lhuillier, Wilson, Toby’s, Dunlop, Slazenger and B-Meg.
The boys’ 12- and 14-U sections and the 10-unisex bracket all drew 32-player draws, underscoring the wide base of talents in the region.
“We thank Gov. Mangudadatu for hosting this annual leg of the PPS-PEPP circuit, giving the youth of the region a ranking tournament to showcase their talent and skills,” said Palawan Pawnshop president/CEO Bobby Castro.
Other age-groupers are also being held elsewhere in the PPS-PEPP’s continuing effort to boost the development of the sport and at the same time help in the talent-search.
Meanwhile, Gen. Santos City and Digos City will host the next two stops on June 21-25 and June 28-July 1, respectively. Listup is ongoing.
Heinz Carbonilla, Andrei Padao, Jay Balaoing and Karl Palo spearhead the 14-U cast with Carbonilla also gaining the top seeding in the 12-U side that includes Reymar Saldivar Jr., Jason Flores Jr. and Charles Jumawan while the 10-U crown is a tossup among Kael Palo, Shaun Globasa, Yusuf Maldo and Alexavier Uy.