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Olivarez, Verdad near final battle

Top seed Eric Jed Olivarez and No. 4 Fritz Verdad stayed on track for another potential final showdown as they trampled their respective rivals in the Rep. Edwin Olivarez Cup at the Olivarez Sports Center in Sucat, Parañaque last Thursday.

Olivarez dispatched Marco Macalintal, 6-2, 6-0, to arrange a semifinal duel with fifth-ranked Eric Jay Tangub, who also posted a convincing 6-2, 6-3 triumph over Justin Suarez in the upper half of the 64-player draw.

Verdad, on the other hand, overcame an opening set scare from Andre Alcantara then dominated in the next to hack out a 7-6(1), 6-1 victory. The veteran campaigner will next take on second seed Vicente Anasta for a spot in the finals of the Group A tournament.

Anasta advanced with a 5-7, 6-4, 3-0(ret.) win over Noel Damian in the 10-day men’s Open singles championship.

Jed Olivarez had previously defeated Verdad in the MITF Open finals in Iloilo last month in a victory that also avenged his semifinal loss in the Mayor Eric Olivarez Cup National Open ruled by absentee AJ Lim, also at the OSC last August.

Meanwhile, the 25-year-old Olivarez also gained in the men’s doubles as he and partner Nilo Ledama clipped Jude Ceniza and Dhea Talatayod, 6-2, 6-3, to set up a semis showdown with Anasta and Damian, who staved off Miguel Iglupas and Pascua, 7-5, 3-6, 10-7.

Verdad likewise boosted his bid for a “double” as he and Rolly Saga blasted John Renest Sonsoa and Tangub, 6-1, 6-2, for a duel with Jose Maria Pague and Bryan Saarenas, who foiled Lance Fernandez and Bryst Libao, 6-3, 6-2.

In the Legends division, JD Benitez, Ivan Torrecampo, Aldrin Geluz and Roy Tan advanced to the semis of the 45s category, with Geluz making it to the Last 4 in the 35s class, along with Arvin Ruel, Chat Conta and Rollie Anasta.

In juniors play, Andre Alcantara shocked top seed and multi-titled Brice Baisa, 6-1, 6-2, to barge into the semis of the boys’ grand slam tournament held as part of the country’s longest talent-search. He next faces Sherwin Nuguit, who defeated John Amora, 6-1, 4-6, 10-2.


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