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PPS-PEPP: Brice Baisa extends romp in Zentro

Brice Baisa maintained his dominant run in the Palawan Pawnshop junior tennis circuit, sweeping the boys’ 16- and 18-and-under crowns in the Zentro National Championships in Apalit, Pampanga, over the weekend for his sixth consecutive two-title victory.

Continuing his superb style of play, the third-ranked Baisa, 16, defeated top seed Frank Dilao, 6-0, 6-3, to claim the championship in his age-group category in the Group I tournament presented by Dunlop. He then lived up to his top billing in the premier class with a decisive 6-1, 6-1 triumph over the No. 2 Dilao at the Zentro Recreational Events courts.

The discovery from Puerto Princesa extended his impressive winning streak following his domination of the Iloilo, Roxas City, Bacolod, Imus, and Cainta, Rizal legs of the country’s longest talent-search organized by Palawan Pawnshop president/CEO Bobby Castro.

Sandra Bautista also demonstrated her class in the girls’ division, dropping only four games in three matches to secure the 16-U trophy, culminating in a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Ave Policarpio in the finals. The Imus, Cavite standout proved much tougher in the 18-U competition, surrendering just two games against three opponents to reign supreme, including a 6-0, 6-1 rout of Althea Liwag in the championship match, earning her a share of the MVP honors with Baisa.

Additionally, achieving top podium finishes in the week-long tournament, supported by ProtekTODO, PalawanPay, Unified Tennis Philippines, and UTR (Universal Tennis Rating), were the 14-U winners Aljhon Rombawa and Cadee Dagoon, the 12-U champions Dean Palaroan and Ayl Gonzaga, and the 10-unisex titlist Andrei Torrente.

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The unranked Rombawa from San Pablo, Laguna, defeated No. 2 John David Vytiaco, 4-0, 4-0, in the quarterfinals, overcame Raffy Pagtalunan, 6-0, 6-2, in the semifinals, and upset top seed Zachary Morales, 6-7(4), 6-0, 10-8, in the final. Meanwhile, the No. 1 Dagoon from Olongapo City thwarted second-ranked Erynne Ong in a nerve-wracking battle, winning 6-4, 7-6(3).

The top-seeded Palaroan from Sta. Rosa, Laguna, recovered from a struggle in the second set and defeated No. 2 Marcus Go, 6-2, 0-6, 10-3, while the second-ranked Gonzaga from Zambales turned back No. 1 Kylie Cautivo, 7-5, 6-2. Third-ranked Torrente from Olongapo City outclassed top seed Grey Caro, 5-3, 4-0, in the semifinals and then dominated Kian Cansana, 4-0, 4-0, in the final.

Sharing the spotlight were doubles champions Jairus Peralta and Torrente (10-unisex), Rombawa and Pagtalunan (boys’ 14-U), Gonzaga and Ong (girls’ 14-U), Dilao siblings Frank and France (boys’ 18-U), and Liwag and Xophia Oliveros (girls’ 18-U).

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