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PPS Tennis: Jana Diaz scores ‘double’ in SALT Nationals

Jana Diaz showcased top form at the San Jose SALT National Juniors Tennis Championships, stunning the top two seeds in the girls’ premier division to emerge as the lone “double” winner at the Jethro Sports Center in Valenzuela City over the weekend.

Diaz toppled No. 2 Sandra Bautista, 7-5, 6-0, in the semis, then dominated top seed Chloe Mercado, 6-2, 6-2, in challenging conditions to secure the 18-and-under singles crown in the Group 2 tournament presented by Dunlop.

The rising star from Bacoor, Cavite, also excelled in the 16-and-under category, living up to her top billing by dropping just six games in three matches. She sealed her two-title romp with a resounding 6-0, 6-2 triumph over Bautista.

Diaz’s stellar performance earned her the coveted MVP honors in the event sponsored by Keizan Steel Trading, while Olongapo City’s Troan Vytiaco emerged as the top player in the boys’ division by clinching the 14-and-under trophy against Brendan Morales, 4-6, 6-4, 10-2.

Despite his impressive play, Vytiaco fell short of matching Diaz’s achievements as he bowed to Julio Naredo, 6-1, 6-2, in the semifinals of the 16-and-under category. Naredo, from Quezon City, went on to claim the crown with a 1-0(ret.) win over Morales in the final.

Other winners in the event, part of the nationwide circuit under the Palawan Pawnshop National Championships program headed by president/CEO Bobby Castro, were Lucena City’s Jasmine Sardona, Olongapo’s Athena Liwag, QC’s Antonio Ng, Cristiano Calingasan from Bataan, and Joaquin Dacyon, also from Olongapo.

Meanwhile, action shifts to Parañaque City on May 9-13 for the Dr. Pablo Olivarez, Sr. Junior Championships scheduled at the Olivarez Sports Center in Sucat. For details, contact event organizer Bobby Mangunay at 0915-4046464.

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The unranked Sardona shocked No. 2 Izabelle Camcam, 4-5(8), 5-3, 10-6, in the quarterfinals of the girls’ 14-and-under, then edged third seed and doubles partner Liwag, 6-4, 7-5, before thwarting No. 4 Lilith Rufino, 6-4, 7-5, to snare the crown, while Liwag outdueled Rufino in a tense-filled finale, 3-6, 6-3, 10-3, to pocket the 12-and-under diadem.

Ng romped away with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Joaquin Serrato for the boys’ 18-and-under title, Calingasan routed top seed Terrence Batallones, 6-0, 6-1, in the 12-and-under finals, and Dacyon dealt Batallones another setback, 4-2, 4-2, to secure the 10-and-under unisex championship.

Leading the doubles winners are 18-and-under champions Mercado and Dania Bulanadi, and Renio Bagcosca and Jether Salangsan; 14-and-under titlists Liwag and Sardona, and Vytiaco and Calingansan; and 10-and-under unisex victors Dacyon and Maximus Calingasan.

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