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PPS-PEPP: Jana Diaz, Kendrick Pona prove pedigree, rule Escudero jrs

Top seed Jana Diaz thwarted Chloe Mercado, 6-3, 6-4, while No. 2 Kendrick Bona halted third-ranked Lexious Cruz, 6-3, 6-1, as they ruled the 16-and-under division of the PPS-PEPP Escudero Cup National Tennis Open Championships in San Pablo City last Sunday.

Diaz kicked off her title drive with a shutout win over Ave Policarpio then turned back Sandra Bautista, 6-1, 7-5, before holding off Mercado, who barely escaped with a 3-6, 7-5, 10-7 win over Joy Ansay in the semis, to clinch the crown at the Aera Tennis Club.

The Bacoor, Cavite find and Mercado, from Quezon City, later shared the top honors in 18-U play after heavy rains washed out the finals of the girls’ premier division of the Group 1 tournament presented by Dunlop.

Bona’s straight-set romp over Cruz spiked the Puerto Princesa bet’s dominant run that had him dropping just three games in three matches on his way to the finals. Cruz from Cabanatuan, meanwhile, stunned top seed Reign Maravilla, 6-1, 4-6, 10-8, in the semis of the country’s longest talent-search put up by Palawan Pawnshop president/CEO Bobby Castro.

Ivan Manila, on the other hand, wore down Bona in the decider as the second ranked bet from Nueva Ecija spoiled the latter’s “double” bid with a 6-0, 1-6, 10-7 win in the 18-U class of the event backed by Rep. Loreto Amante, Rep. Edwin Olivarez, Rep. Sonny Lagon, Arman Santos, Converge, Mitsubishi Motors and Slazenger.

Other winners in the tournament that capped a two-week long tennis festival ushered in by the Open championship topped by Johnny Arcilla were Sta. Rosa, City’s Jaekob Palaroan and Maristella Torrecampo from Los Baños, Cruz and Ansay, and Caleb Villeno.

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The top-ranked Palaroan held off No. 3 Emmanuel Andal, 6-4, 6-3, while Torrecampo blasted Kylie Cautivo, 6-0, 6-0, in 12-U finals; Cruz took the 14-U diadem with a 6-4, 6-3 triumph over Aljhon Rombawa, with Ansay, also from Sta. Rosa City, ruling her side of the 14-U finals with a 6-4 6-4 victory over Torrecampo.

Villeno dominated the 10-unisex class of the tournament supported by ProtekTODO, PalawanPay, the Unified Tennis Philippines and UTR (Universal Tennis Rating) with a 4-0, 4-0 rout of Andrew Lozada.

Meanwhile, the PPS-PEPP juniors circuit moves to Binan beginning March 2 for the Rep. Len Alonte-Naguiat Championships at the South City Homes Recreational courts. For details, contact tournament organizer Bobby Mangunay at 0915-4046464.

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