THE country’s top men and women’s netters are seeing action in the PCA Open Championships which celebrates its 31st year on December 1-9 at the famed shell courts of the Philippine Columbian Association.
Defending champions Johnny Arcilla and Marian Capadocia return to defend their respective titles against a cast of heavies that featured the current cream of the crop of Philippine tennis.
Out to stop Arcilla from extending his record of six PCA championships are PH No. 2 Elbert Anasta, and fellow Davis Cuppers Treat Huey, Jeson Patrombon, Ruben Gonzales, and Francis Alcantara.
Huey is definitely the biggest threat to Arcilla, who won the crown in successive year from 2006-09, as the Fil-American ranks No. 40 in the world in doubles and considered as the top local netter today following the retirement of Cecil Mamiit.
Also entered in the men’s side are Marc Sieber and upcoming junior netter Jurence Mendoza.
Capadocia, meanwhile, faces tough competition against Clarice Patrimonio, the other half of the reigning women’s doubles champion, and Katharina Lehnert.
Czarina Mae Arevalo holds the most number of titles in the distaff side with five.
John Henri Lhuillier, whose firm is the official presentor of the tournament this year, decided to sweeten the pot by adding P100,000 to the total prize money in celebration of Cebuana Lhuillier’s 25th year in business. The total prize is now pegged at P600,000.
“It’s gonna be a great tournament with the new addition of players like Huey, Gonzales, and Lehnert, who are all first timers,” said Lhuillier, during the formal launching of the meet Wednesday. “These are the best players we have in the country especially in the men’s side, so we expect the best-ever PCA Open in terms of quality action.”
Joining Lhuillier in the event were Philippine Tennis Association vice-president Randy Villanueva, who represented Philta president Edwin Olivarez, Kia Sr. manager Palermo Soriano Jr., the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office’s Vince Juico, and head managing director Liza Tan.
With the addition in pot money, the prize purse in both men’s (P100,000) and women’s (P50,000) will also increase.
Davis Cup men’s team captain Roland Kraut still believes Arcilla will be the man to beat for the title.
“Teritoryo niya (Arcilla) itong center court having won six titles here,” he said. “But the Davis Cup team practices here, so it will be a good fight.”