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Fuertes, Cua glow in Gov. Jubahib Cup

Stephen Fuertes (left) and Dhea Cua hold their trophies as they pose with Davao del Norte’s Provincial Agrarian Reform program officer II Tommy Bernaldez during awards rites. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PVL

The tournament’s big guns lived up to their lofty billing during the Gov. Edwin Jubahib Cup national tennis championships held over the weekend in Davao del Norte.

Stephen Fuertes and Dhea Cua, alongside top seeded bets in their respective divisions, claimed top honors in the premier division at the DavNor Tourism Sports Complex courts.

The third ranked Fuertes stunned No. 1 Jason Battad in the semis, 6-3, 6-4, then foiled fourth seed Bench Neri, 7-6(3), 6-2, as the Digos City native claimed the boys’ trophy in the 18-and-under category of the first of two Group 2 tournaments.

Cua produced the more impressive result as the unranked player from Kidapawan City downed No. 6 Jasmen Kadalum, 5-4(4), 4-1, in the second round, turned back fourth-ranked Sanschena Francisco in the next, 6-3, 7-6(5), and toppled No. 4 Faith Lazaro, 6-4, 6-2, in the semis.

In the final, she whacked top seed Chelsea Bernaldez, 6-2, 6-4.

Fuertes displayed his skills further as he also bagged the 16-and-U crown with a resounding 6-3, 6-2 victory over Battad. Fuertes and Cua shared the  Most Valuable Player honors in the tournament.

Other winners in the five-day tournament, sanctioned by Philta and the Universal Tennis Rating, were Aika Salahudin, also from Digos, Davao de Oro’s Arriana Maglana, Cotabato’s Aljaven Lumambas, Justine Gumbao from Sultan Kudarat, Davao de Oro’s Matt Docena and Francis Dimzon.

Salahudin, the top-ranked player in girls’ 16-and-U, crushed Jannah Otico, 6-1, 6-1, in the finals; No. 4 Maglana edged top seed Otico in a thrilling semis duel, 6-4, 6-7(2), 10-5, then routed No. 2 Princess Placa, 6-1, 6-0, to bag the girls’ 14-and-U crown; while the unseeded Lumambas upended No. 1 Yendor Carvajal, 6-2, 6-0, in the semis, then ripped No. 2 Docena, 6-2, 6-2, to clinch the boys’ 14-and-U trophy.

Gumbao and Docena shared the 12-and-U titles after the former scored a 4-0(ret.) win over Maureen Mamaba and the latter shocked top seed Kresthan Belacas, 6-1, 7-6(1).

The third-ranked Dimzon took the 10-under unisex championship with a 4-2, 4-2 victory over No. 1 Daneea Sinsuat.

In doubles, Bernaldez, from Tagum City, and Lazaro pulled off a tough 8-6 win over Cua and Francisco, while Rossel Judabal and Neri whipped Battad and Miguel Bocobo, 8-2, for the boys’ diadem.

Jannah Otico and Maglana copped the 14-and-U title with an 8-0 rout of Rhea Palac and Sinsuat, while Docena and Dexter Salcedo tripped Carvajal and Liam Gabay, 8-3.

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