TOP seed Clarice Patrimonio and No. 4 Maia Balce were pushed to the limit before turning back their respective opponents to clinch their spots in the ladies singles finals of the 34th Philippine Columbian Association (PCA) Open-Cebuana Lhuillier Wildcard Event at the PCA Open clay courts in Paco, Manila.
Patrimonio dug deep into her arsenal to extinguish No. 3 Edilyn Balanga, 6-2, 7-6 (5).
“Gumanda yung laro ni Eds. Nakuha niya yung game ko sa second set kaya nag-adjust lang ako and luckily I got it,” said the 21-year-old Patrimonio, who is eyeing first PCA Open title after finishing second in 2011, and 2013 in the event supported by Cebuana Lhuillier, Puma, Dunlop, The Philippine Star, Head, Babolat, Compass/IMOSTI and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao.
Clarice was left alone to carry the fight for the Patrimonios after older sister Christine was eliminated by the 17-year-old Balce, 7-6 (4), 6-3.
Balce’s ability to keep calm under intense pressure gave her the edge over the 23-year-old Christine.
“Hindi ko ipinakita frustrations ko every time na may error ako. Mas naging patient ako lalo na sa second set. Sinabayan ko lang siya then pag may chance na umatake saka ko papaluan,” said Balce, a fourth year student of St. Paul University-Pasig.
The Patrimonio-Balce finals duel will begin at 11 in the morning Sunday.
“Isang beses ko pa lang siyang [Balce] nakalaban. We’ll see. I’ll just do my best,” said Clarice, the reigning UAAP Most Valuable Player.
In men’s singles play, defending champion Patrick John Tierro squares off with boy wonder Alberto ‘AJ’ Lim at 1 p.m. Sunday 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.
Tierro and Lim 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 after making it to the finals.
Veteran netters Johnny Arcilla, Elbert Anasta, Marc Anthony Alcoseba, Francis Casey Alcantara, Rolando Ruel Jr., and Ronard Joven meanwhile, will try their luck in the qualifying round.
The winners between the Arcilla-Tierro and Alcantara-Joven in the doubles will be given spots in the ITF 16-pair main draw.
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.