Eric Jed Olivarez hopes to ride the crest of a big title run in Puerto Princesa last week and flourish on the indoor clay courts he calls home as he guns for a second straight victory in the Mayor Eric Olivarez Cup National Open Tennis Championships, which gets going today (Monday, Aug. 14) in Sucat, Parañaque.
Olivarez turned back doubles partner Charles Kinaadman, 5-7, 6-2, 6-2, to capture the Rep. Edward Hagedorn Open crown in a victory that had kept him in the conversation heading to this week’s Group A championship featuring the country’s leading players at the Olivarez Sports Center and Parañaque Tennis Courts.
Event organizer Bobby Mangunay said they are using two courts to accommodate the big number of entries with the tournament also featuring the men’s and women’s doubles, the juniors grand slam 18-and-under singles and doubles for boys and girls.
Also on tap are the Legends men’s doubles 30s, 40s and 50s, men’s singles 35s and 45s, and women’s doubles 30s.
The week-long event offers a total prize fund of P338,000 with the men’s singles Open winner to pocket P50,000 plus trophy and UTP (Unified Tennis Philippines) and UTR (Universal Tennis) points.
But while he brims with confidence after ending a long quest for a major win in Palawan, the fourth-ranked Olivarez faces an uphill battle in the 64-player draw headlined by multi-titled Johnny Arcilla, Jose Maria Pague, Vicente Anasta, Nilo Ledama, Noel Damian, Eric Tangub and Jeleardo Amazona.
Olivarez, who upended Arcilla in the semis in the Hagedorn Open, battles Nino Paz in the first round with Arcilla taking on Paolo Corpuz, Pague slugging it out with Gouji Manansala, Anasta tangling with Christian Melitante, Ledama clashing with Joseph Carrasco, Damian mixing it up with Lexious Cruz, Tangub trading shots with John Amora, and Amazona testing Carolina Junsay’s mettle.
Others in the hunt are John Mari Altiche, Noel Salupado, Loucas Fernandez, Alexis Acabo. Eury Gaspar, Jude Ceniza, Alberto Villamor and Christian Lopez.
Arcilla and Ledama also shoot for back-to-back title run in the men’s doubles after pulling off a tough 6-4, 3-6, 10-6 escape over Olivarez and Kinaadman in Palawan.