Arcilla-De Guzman, Tierro-Dizon battle separate rivals in opener

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014


TOP two seeded men's players Johnny Arcilla and Patrick John Tierro will pair up with younger female netters when they clash against separate rivals in mixed doubles event of the 3rd National Men's and Women's Invitational Tennis Championship set to open at 8 a.m. today at the Woodridge Tennis Club courts in Ma-a.

No. 1 Arcilla, who hails from Butuan City, teams up with De La Salle University varsity player Rachelle de Guzman to play against Mark Anthony Alcoseba of Davao City and Jzash Canja of North Cotabato in the fourth match of the day.

No. 2 Tierro, who was a teammate of Arcilla in representing the Philippines in the Davis Cup and Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, joins Ateneo de Davao University's 15-year-old standout Jenni Celine Dizon when they test the mettle of men's fourth-seeded Marc Anthony Reyes of Italy and Manila-based veteran Aileen Rogan in the 8 a.m. curtain raiser.
Laguna pride De Guzman, a 17-year-old Sports Studies freshman, earlier hoped to pair with Arcilla. She was elated when the Philippine Tennis Association (Philta)-ranked No. 4 Arcilla drew her number in yesterday's drawing of lots at Nanay Bebeng's Restaurant.

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"This is my first time to play here. Mas may edge na ang ibang mga players na nakapaglaro narin dito last time. I will do my best to just enjoy the game and my vacation," the former Palarong Pambansa champion De Guzman said.

Fourth-seeded Reyes, a PCA Open runner-up to Arcilla, said he's excited to compete in his first tournament in Davao City. The 24-year-old Reyes, born to Filipino parents in Milan, Italy, said: "I've seen her (Rogan) play before so I think we'll do well. In my other events, I will do my best to win (smiles)."

Reyes' mother is from General Santos City, the birthplace of Rogan. Reyes, a Sports Management graduate, came to the Philippines last year and started a career in tennis. He is currently ranked No. 6 based in Philta rankings as of Feb. 28.

Other mixed doubles matches pit Elbert Anasta and Sally Mae Siso against Ronard "Toto" Joven of Sultan Kudarat and Marinel Rudas of DLSU; Leander Lazaro and Cebu City native Hannah Grace Espinosa of the National University against Dabawenyo Ralph Kevin Barte of the University of Sto. Tomas and women's top-seed Edilyn Balanga.

Rudas, however, downplayed her chances as she is still undergoing rehab on her knee injury that sidelined her since last year.

"This is my second time here but I can't be complacent. This is a good tournament for me as I'm still recuperating from my injury. I'm excited to play again,"Rudas, who was 2012 women's singles runner-up, said in an interview with Sun.Star Davao yesterday.

Rudas, a second year Sports Management student at DLSU, said she also aims to bring home a title this year.

Balanga, who helped the country win a women's team silver medal in the 2013 Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar, said she considers every player in the women's singles the same.

"Lahat sila magagaling kaya naimbitahan sa tournament. I'll just enjoy my game and get exposure since tournaments like these are rare," Balanga, who hails in Spain, said. With Filipino parents, she came to the country just last year for a vacation but was asked to join the national team for the SEA Games. She has been playing tennis in Spain since five years old.
Mens' doubles matches will be featured in the afternoon.

The four-day netfest, co-presented by Merco, Selecta and Flot Group, also has men's doubles, women's doubles, men's singles and women's singles events.

Tickets are pegged at pegged at P400 (season ticket for four days), P150 (for first two days) and P200 (for last two days).

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 13, 2014.

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