Kate Imalay and Andrian Rodriguez fashioned out victories and runner-up finishes in their respective sides, earning them co-Most Valuable Player honors in the Mayor Joedith Gallego National Juniors Tennis Championships at the Silky courts in Negros Occidental over the weekend.
The top-seeded Imalay, 14, demonstrated dominance in her age bracket, dropping just six games, including a 6-0, 6-2 rout of second seed Alexa Cruspero in the finals.
Despite a 0-6.1-6 setback to Bacolod’s Hannah Divinagracia in the 16-and-under category, the rising Bato, Leyte star emerged the top performer among female players in the Group I tournament.
Rodriquez, on the other hand, survived Kurt Montenegro, 4-2, 4-5 (1), 10-2, in the semis then repulsed Raphael Lamata, 6-3, 6-2, to clinch the boys’ 14U title. However, the Bacolod City native fell short in the 16U finals, losing a closely-fought 3-6. 6-1, 6-10 battle to top seed Jeremy Napiere from Cadiz City.
Takuya Joson and Jasmine Jaran, both from La Carlota City, also claimed the top spots in the premier division with the former repelling Romell Gimena, 6-3, 1-6, 10-7, and the latter blasting Louchelaj Estember, 6-0, 6-2, in the 18U finals.
The event, which drew nearly 200 entries, served as part of the junior tennis program put up by Palawan Pawnshop president/CEO Bobby Castro.
Impressed by the huge turnout, Mayor Gallego pledged to host the tournament annually, including the Open championship. Additionally, the city plans to construct two more (tennis) courts as part of Silay City’s grassroots sports development program to encourage youth participation.
Other singles winners were Kathlyn Bugna, Jake Jarqueo and Rayven Milliam, all from La Carlota.
Bugna also went through a wringer before upending the top-seeded Cruspero, 3-6, 6-4, 10-5, while Jarqueo held off Ciaran Alipo-on, 6-3, 6-4, for the 12U title.
Milliam snared the 10U unisex diadem with a 5-3, 4-5(4), 10-2 verdict over Christian Jarloyan.