EDILYN Balanga pulled through in a pair of gripping tiebreakers, nipping Clarice Patrimonio, 7-6(7), 7-6(5) to arrange a title showdown with fancied Khim Iglupas for the women’s singles crown in the Palawan Pawnshop-Palawan Express Pera Padala Tuna Festival Open at the Gen. Santos Tennis Court in Gen. Santos City Sunday.
The second seeded Balanga easily disposed of Hannah Espinosa in the quarters, 6-1, 6-1, but dragged by Patrimonio in a back-and-forth baseline battle in the semis before scoring the key points in the tiebreakers to pound out the victory.
Iglupas, meanwhile, broke Marinel Rudas once in the opening set then imposed her will and strength in the next to complete a 6-4, 6-1 romp in the other side of the semis in the event sponsored by Palawan Pawnshop through COO Bobby Castro and hosted by Atty. Dominador Lagare.
“Though Iglupas has the momentum and the confidence, Balanga is raring to get back at her, making their title clash worth watching,” said Castro, the long-time backer of Philta’s junior tennis program.
Iglupas, who edged Balanga to capture last year’s Olivarez Cup crown before defending it against Marian Capadocia recently, earlier bundled out Christine Patrimonio, 6-3, 6-2, before beating Rudas, while Clarice Patrimonio trounced Sally Siso, 6-1, 6-4, before facing Balanga.
Casey Alcantara, meanwhile, primed up for a second straight major crown after ruling the recent Olivarez Cup as he dismantled No. 7 Ronald Joven, 6-4, 6-2, to seal a title clash with second seed Johnny Arcilla, who subdued No. 3 Vicente Anasta, 6-2, 7-5, in the other semis duel of the centerpiece men’s singles of the event backed by Technifibre as official ball.
“Casey is on a roll but Arcilla will surely use his experience and court savvy to foil him,” said Philippine Tennis Association headed by president and Paranaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez.
The 23-year-old Alcantara earlier scored a 7-5, 1-1 (ret.) win over No. 4 Marc Reyes before meeting Joven, who upended top seed PJ Tierro, 6-3, 6-2, in the quarters.
Arcilla, on the other hand, beat Fritz Verdad, 6-2, 6-1, before repulsing Anasta, who dominated Christian Edullantes, 6-1, 6-0, to get a crack at a payback against Alcantara, the Cagayan de Oro find who beat him in the semifinals of the Olivarez Cup.
The ladies singles finals is set at Monday with Alcantara and Arcilla disputing the men’s plum later in the day.