A HURTING shoulder did not stop Johnny Arcilla from crowning himself champion of the 2nd Mayor James Gamao Cup National Invitational Tennis Championship at the Panabo City twin courts late Saturday afternoon, June 16.
Second seed Arcilla, 38, of Butuan City, recovered from a second set loss to outlast 18-year-old John Bryan Otico of Bukidnon, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, in their men's singles finals match.
Arcilla, who won several championships in Merco-Selecta-presented tournaments in Davao City, said he did not expect to win the title having felt a tinging pain in his shoulder while he was warming up.
"Feeling ko aayaw ako pagkatapos ng first set eh gumanda ang palo ko, important serve ko at volleys ko gumanda almost perfect. Kasi pag tumagal ako sa baseline lalo na sa forehand ko, di ako makapalo ng todo sa forehand kasi my kirot," he said, sharing that his past injury seemed to had recurred during his semifinals clash against Vicente Elberto Anasta whom he defeated, 6-4, 6-4.
Arcilla, however, leaned on his service aces and consistent volleys to give him the win after missing action in last year's edition of the tournament due to injury.
He and Otico played each other a few times in the past and the latter once subdued Arcilla in another finals showdown in a Marikina invitational.
Otico said, "Mas maganda laro ni Kuya Johnny."
But Otico of De La Salle Santiago Zobel bounced back by clinching the men's doubles title with University of the East partner Rolly John Saga. Otico-Saga survived past Francis Casey Alcantara and Jan Godfrey Seno, 7-6, 7-6, in the championship match.
"Sa tiebreaks lang talaga nagkaalaman, paunahan lang kami ng pressure. I just told my partner that we just play our game because we have nothing to lose," he told Sun.Star Davao.
All winners received cash prizes and trophies. The event was organized by the For the Love of Tennis (Flot) Group of Merco president Anton Ferrazzini.