Local tennis gets set for a bigger serving next week when the PPS-PEPP Olivarez Cup Open Tennis Championship returns after a two-year hiatus due to pandemic featuring the country’s leading players and rising stars at the Olivarez Sports Center in Sucat.
Multi-titled and many-time national team spearhead Jeson Patrombon, young Jed Olivarez, durable Johnny Arcilla along with Vicente Anasta, Josshua Kinaadman, Mark Alcoseba, Norman Enriquez and Noel Damian, Jr. make up the merry mix of aces all geared up for a spirited battle for top honors in the week-long championship.
The long layoff only makes the title chase doubly exciting, the 32-player cast staying fit and in shape through regular training and workouts in the run-up to the staging of the event in new normal following the lowering of Covid alert levels in the country, particularly in the NCR Plus.
Safety and health measures, meanwhile, will still be strictly enforced during the conduct of the tournament put up by the Palawan Pawnshop-Palawan Express Pera Padala in its continuing effort to help develop the sport and at the same discover talents who could be tapped and trained for future national teams.
Others vying for the top P30,000 purse in men’s singles are NJ Enriquez, Leander Lazaro, John Altiche, Rolando Ruel, Jr., Gabriel Tiamson, Stefano Gurria, and wild cards Luis Asistio, Axi Gonzaga, Rey Pascua and Aslan Carbonilla.
Four others will join the cast from the qualifying phase on March 14-15 with the tournament proper firing off March 16.
Also on tap is the men’s doubles, including the Legends 30s, 40s and 50s divisions with Dunlop, Rep, Eric Olivarez and the Olivarez Sports Center backing the event.
The PPS-PEPP has been in the forefront of tennis development in the country the past decade or so with its annual nationwide series until the pandemic disrupted play in all sports.
Meanwhile, Anasta and Patrombon, and Arcilla and Kyle Dandan banner the doubles’ field that includes the pairs of Olivarez and Pascua, and Damian and Lazaro.