Durable Arcilla rips Pague, bags Escudero Cup

Johnny Arcilla (left) clinches another Open trophy over Jose Maria Pague

Johnny Arcilla overwhelmed Jose Maria Pague with a stellar play that has anchored his long reign in local tennis, coming away with a 6-2, 6-0 victory to capture the Escudero Cup National Tennis Open Championship in San Pablo City yesterday.

He broke his young rival in the fourth game of the opening frame, then repeated the feat in the eighth before turning their second set duel into a virtual workout, limiting Pague to just one point in the latter’s three turns on serve.

Arcilla, 43, actually needed an extra set to subdue Vicente Anasta, 6-2, 1-6, 6-2, in the semis but the veteran Davis Cupper and 10-time PCA champion got his second win in the final and clobbered the second-ranked Pague, who also struggled past Charles Kinaadman, 6-1, 0-6, 6-4, in their side of the Final Four in the Group A tournament that marked return of the Don Arsenio Escudero Sr. Cup after a long absence on the PPS-PEPP calendar.

Arcilla has stayed in top form through the years, winning five Open titles in the Palawan Pawnshop-sponsored circuit last year, including the season-ending Naga Open in Cebu last December.

His partnership with Bryan Saarenas also produced a victory as they held off Anasta and Pague, 6-3, 7-5, to clinch the doubles diadem in the event backed by Rep. Loreto Amante, Rep. Edwin Olivarez, Rep. Sonny Lagon, Arman Santos, Converge, Mitsubishi Motors, Dunlop and Slazenger.

Meanwhile, action in the Escudero Cup juniors tournament got under way yesterday (Friday) with five age-group category titles up for grabs, including the premier 18-U division headed by Vince Serna and Ivan Manila (boys) and Chloe Mercado and Jana Diaz (girls), according to tournament organizer Bobby Mangunay.