TOP junior netter Alberto Lim Jr. was simply unstoppable in outlasting eight-time champion Johnny Arcilla, 7-5, 4-6, 6-1, to claim a berth in the men’s singles finals of the 34th Philippine Columbian Association (PCA) Open-Cebuana Lhuillier Wildcard Event at the PCA Open clay courts in Paco, Manila on Friday.
The 16-year-old Lim arranged a showdown with defending champion Patrick John Tierro, who won via default after Elbert Anasta failed to show up for personal reasons.
Lim, who admitted his recent stints abroad helped him build his confidence, started off aggressively against the 35-year-old Arcilla. Although he faltered in the second set, he bounced back even stronger by scoring two crucial break points in the deciding set to turn the match in his favor.
“Suwerte lang, maganda inilaro ko nung third set, ginawa ko lang lahat ng makakaya ko para manalo. Malaking tulong rin po yung mga laro ko abroad, nakakakuha po ako ng confidence doon, in-apply ko dito sa game ko kaya maganda ang resulta,” said Lim, who took the titles in the India ITF Junior 1 and Delhi ITF Juniors last January to add to the China Junior 14 Nanjing in August.
The young ace known for his explosive two-handed backhand, also booted out Australian Open juniors doubles champion Francis Casey Alcantara in the quarterfinals of the event supported by Cebuana Lhuillier, Puma, Dunlop, The Philippine Star, Head, Babolat, Compass/IMOSTI and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao.
“Hindi biro na makalaban sina kuya Nino [Alcantara] at kuya Johnny. Ang ini-expect ko lang sa larong ito, laruin ko yung laro ko saka isipin na may chance po ako na manalo. Hindi ko ini-expect na magiging madali yung laban,” added Lim.
Lim and Tierro, who both earned automatic tickets to the main draw of the upcoming 2015 Manila International Tennis Federation (ITF) Men’s Futures Leg 2 set on October 12, will battle it out for the title on Sunday.
“May advantage at disadvantage rin ito sa part ko. Advantage because I’m fresh, disadvantage dahil hindi pa ako napu-push. Si AJ parang sanay na sanay na, parang na-break in na siya. Ako baka mabigla ako,” said the 30-year-old Tierro.
Arcilla, who failed to clinch a ninth PCA title for the second time, will still be seeing action in the qualifying round of the Manila ITF along with Anasta, Alcantara, Marc Anthony Alcoseba, and Ronard Joven, who all made it into the quarterfinals and semifinals of 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.
Only the winners in the doubles division will be given spots in the ITF 16-pair main draw.
Ladies singles semis matches kick off Saturday with the Patrimonio siblings - Clarice and Christine - hoping to stretch their winning streak all the way to the finals and arrange an all-family affair for the crown.
Standing in their way however are fourth pick Maia Balce, who faces seventh pick Christine at 9 in the morning, and No. 3 Edilyn Balanga, who will square off with top seed Clarice at 10.
A total of P172,000 is up for grabs this year, with the men’s single champ taking the top purse of P50,000, while the runner-up gets P25,000. The ladies singles titlist and runner-up will take home P20,000 and P10,000, respectively.