ALBERTO ‘AJ’ Lim, is nearly half of Patrick John Tierro’s age, but showed maturity on the court after bagging the men’s singles title in the 34th Philippine Columbian Association (PCA) Open-Cebuana Lhuillier Wildcard Event following a 6-3, 7-6 (5) victory at the PCA Open clay courts in Paco, Manila on Sunday.
In the distaff side, Clarice Patrimonio reached a milestone when she disposed Maia Balce, 6-4, 6-3, to clinch her PCA crown after two runner-up finishes.
The 16-year-old Lim, who need to stop Tierro’s late charge for the win, is now the youngest PCA men’s champion in the event supported by Cebuana Lhuillier, Puma, Dunlop, The Philippine Star, Head, Babolat, Compass/IMOSTI and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao.
He edged out 1982 winner Manny Tolentino by two months.
The match got a little testy in the second set, admitted Lim.
“Sobrang pressured po ako dahil mabigat na kalaban si PJ. Nung second set, talagang ibinuhos ko na lahat, nag-step up talaga ako and I am happy na nakuha ko ang panalo,” said Lim, who had a tough route to the finals as he had to go through eight-time champ Johnny Arcilla and before that, against Australian Open juniors doubles champion Francis Casey Alcantara.
It was a different story for Patrimonio, who put on a tennis clinic in the second set to thwart off Balce’s title bid.
“It wasn’t an easy game. Medyo marami akong errors sa first set, dun siya nakakakuha ng puntos kaya I started minimizing my errors in the second set then pina-spin ko lang ‘yung serve ko,” said the beaming Patrimonio. “Sobrang sarap ng feeling na finally mailalagay na ‘yung pangalan ko sa Hall of Fame wall ng PCA. May Patrimonio nang nakalagay ‘dun kaya sobrang thankful ako.”
Patrimonio took home P20,000, while Balce bagged P10,000 in the tournament supported by Whilpool/Fujidenzo, Broadway Motor Sales Corp. Coca-Cola Femsa Philippines, Tyrecorp Incorporated, Pearl Garden Hotel, Metro Global Holdings Corporation, Avida, PVL Restaurant, Mary Grace Foods, Inc., Seno Hardware and Wire Rope Corporation.
Lim, on the other hand, took home the top purse of P50,000 in the men’s, while Tierro received P25,000.
Lim, the country’s lone representative in the boys’ singles of the Wimbledon, also won the titles in the India ITF Junior 1 and Delhi ITF Juniors last January and the China Junior 14 Nanjing in August.
Come October 12, he and Tierro will be competing in the main draw of the upcoming 2015 Manila International Tennis Federation (ITF) Men’s Futures Leg 2, also at the PCA indoor court.
Veteran netters Elbert Anasta, Marc Anthony Alcoseba, Francis Casey Alcantara, Ronard Joven, and Arcilla will try their luck in the qualifying round.
The dynamic duo of Tierro and Arcilla had to shake off a disappointing start as they rallied to defeat Francis Casey Alcantara and Ronard Joven, 3-6, 6-3, 10-7.
Tierro and Arcilla will advance into the ITF doubles 16-pair main draw.
In ladies doubles, Patrimonio and teammate Shaira Rivera outlasted Marinel Rudas and Edilyn Balanga, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (2).