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Top guns blast Albay Open foes

Johnny Arcilla and Leander Lazaro overpowered their respective opponents to lead the charge of the big guns in the opener of the first Albay National Open Tennis Championship Wednesday at the Lignon Hills Tennis Club in Bicol.

The top-seeded Arcilla, seeking a follow-up to his Brookside Open romp last April, crushed Romnel Fortadez Jr., 6-0, 6-0, while the No. 2 Lazaro dropped just one game in disposing of Jason Guirra, 6-0, 6-1, in the lower half of the 32-player men’s draw of the event hosted by Gov. Al Francis Bichara and Mayor Noel Rosal through Lignon Hills Tennis Club president Nards Gonzales.

Action in the women’s side is ongoing at presstime with Christine Patrimonio and Khim Iglupas leading the title chase in the week-long tournament held as part of the province’s Magayon Festival celebrations and backed by local sponsor Davies Paints.

No. 3 Fritz Verdad also whipped Philippe Coteron, 6-0, 6-0; fourth-ranked Deo Talatayod rapped Peter Coteron, 6-2, 6-1; No. 5 Eric Jed Olivarez whitewashed Walter Mariano, 6-0, 6-0; sixth seed John Altiche eased out Albert Cornelio, 6-3(ret.); No. 7 Mark Alcoseba thumped Mike Imperial, 6-1, 6-1; and eighth-ranked Noel Damian booted out Wilmer Sabas, 6-2, 6-2.

Wild card Jennard Gonzales from Legazpi, Albay upended Arellano U’s Ronald Roces, 4-6, 7-5, 10-8, to emerge the lone survivor from among a slew of local players slugging it out with some of the country’s aces in the event sponsored by Palawan Pawnshop.

“We are inspired by the huge turnout and the impact it provides on local tennis in particular and on our sports development program in general, so we’ll make this an annual tournament,” said Gov. Bichara.

To maximize the use of the venue, Mayor Rosal said they will convert it to covered tennis courts in time for next year’s staging of the event presented by Slazenger and backed by Asiatraders Corp. and the new Unified tennis group, led by PPS-PEPP, Cebuana Lhuillier, Wilson, Toby’s and B-Meg.

Other winners were Arvin Ruel, Jhun Alcoseba, Jose Maria Pague, Norman Gaspar, Roel Capampangan, Arcie Mano and Kim Saraza.

Meanwhile, Legazpi City is also hosting the MCTA (Macs Crankit Tennis Academy of Australia) Community Coaches Conference which started Wednesday till Saturday. For details, call Bobby Mangunay, the PPS-PEPP sports program development director at 0915-4046464.