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Arcilla favored anew

Johnny Arcilla and Khim Iglupas are installed favorites anew in the PPS-PEPP Dagitab Tennis Festival Open, which got under way yesterday at the City of Naga tennis courts in Naga City, Cebu.

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The veteran Arcilla ruled the men’s singles the last two years but faces a talent-laden cast of seasoned and rising players this week, including recent PCA Open champion Bryan Otico, who upended Davis Cupper PJ Tierro in five to emerge the sport’s newest star.

Although Otico, the 18-year-old Philippine Tennis Academy mainstay, landed in the lower half of the 32-player draw, Arcilla still has a tough block to hurdle to gain another crack at the crown in the season-ending Open tournament sponsored by Palawan Pawnshop and the LGUs of Naga City led by Mayor Kristine Vanessa Chiong.

They include No. 3 Tierro, seventh ranked Vicente Anasta, No. 8 Noel Damian along with Eric Jed Olivarez, Kim Saraza, John Mari Altiche, Dheo Talatayod and recent Phinma ITF Junior winner Arthur Pantino.

Aside from the unranked Otico, second seed Jeson Patrombon, meanwhile, also has a slew of talented rivals to face, including No. 4 Leander Lazaro, fifth ranked Fritz Verdad, sixth seed Ronad Joven along with Marcen Gonzales, Mark Alcoseba, Roel Capangpangan, and Jan Godfrey Seno.

Also on tap in the week-long tournament backed by Asia Traders Corp. and official ball Slazenger is the mixed doubles which offers P48,000 in total prizes. The men’s singles winner will pocket P30,000 while the women’s singles champion will take home P20,000.