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PPS-PEPP: Johnny Arcilla bags Naga Open crown

Overpowered by Jan Godfrey Seno in the early-goings, Johnny Arcilla used his veteran smarts to repel his younger rival in the last two sets, hacking out a 3-6, 6-0, 6-1 decision to claim the Naga Open National Tennis Championship crown at the City of Naga tennis courts in Cebu Wednesday.

Arcilla changed tactics after yielding the opening set which Seno dominated with his power and baseline game, coming through with superb drop and lob shots and backspins that baffled the latter and helped fuel his come-from-behind victory that extended his domination of the circuit presented by Dunlop.

It was the 10-time PCA Open champion’s third straight win coming off romps in the Brookside Open in Cainta and Zentro Open in Pampanga the last three weeks, and five overall, counting his victories in the Puerto Princesa Open last October and the Pintaflores Festival Open last month.

That further underscored the 42-year-old tremendous form and staying power, who dropped his first two cracks at serve in the first set to fall 0-4 as Seno took the better of Arcilla in long baseline rallies. After trading serves in the next three, he finally broke Seno in the eighth but the latter broke back to clinch the set.

But Arcilla, who also needed an extra set to repulse Charles Kinaadman in the semis, quickly recovered and imposed his will in the next, shutting out Seno, who swept Eric Tangub in the Final Four, with his vast repertoire of shots. He then broke his rival in the first and fifth games of the deciding set to go 5-1 up before breaking him again in the seventh to wrap up the crown.

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Unlike in Brookside and Zentro Open, however, Arcilla failed to complete a twin kill as Kinaadman and Eric Jed Olivarez carved out a thrilling 6-7 6-2, 10-7 victory over him and Vicente Anasta in the doubles finals of the Group A event put up by Palawan Pawnshop president/CEO Bobby Castro.

Sharing the spotlight in the tournament held as part of the Dagitab Festival celebrations were Legends winners, including Boy Longakit and Jonathan Largo, who beat Aldrin Geluz and Rocky Paglalunan, 8-5, in 40s class; Roy Tabotabo and Marlon Mariscal, who trounced Geluz and Enrico Abadia, 8-2; Rollie Anasta, who held off Chat Conta, 8-5, for the men’s singles 35 title; Geluz, who edged Tabotabo, 8-7(3), in singles 45 finals.

Other doubles winners in the event, supported by ProtekTODO, PalawanPay, the Unified Tennis Philippines, and UTR (Universal Tennis Rating), were Max Tallido and Biboy Narvasa (Classified C), Raffy Canares and Alvin Cinco (Classified C+), Manolet Cortes and Danny Sajonia (Classified B-), and Noel Salupado and Rollie Anasta (Classified B+).

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