A FOREIGN invasion hasn't shaken Johnny Arcilla's reign in the Philippine Columbian Association Open.
Ranged against a much tougher field dotted by foreign-based players, Arcilla showed he's still the undisputed master of PCA's shell courts by notching a seventh straight title in what has long been considered as the country's premier tennis tournament.
In the process, the country's best homegrown player showed he can hold his own against a sprinkling of overseas-based netters as he capped his succcessful title defense with a gruelling 7-5, 7-6 (7-1), 0-6, 7-6 (7-5) victory over third-ranked Ruben Gonzales on Sunday night.
“Iniisip ko lang, maraming malakas. (Kaya) wala lang, laruin ko lang laro ko,” said Arcilla.
Aside from Gonzales, the PCA Open was able to lure Davis Cup and ATP Challenger veteran Treat Huey and Fil-German Marc Sieber. Arcilla also beat the top-seeded Sieber, 6-2 6-4, in the semifinals after a tough three-set victory over Patrick John Tierro in the quarterfinals.
“Sabi ko, mukhang malabo ako kay Sieber. Kaya bahala na, buhos ko na lang laro ko. Napaganda pa,” he said.
That nothing-to-lose attitude only helped him against Gonzales, winning the crown after a rigorous battle that lasted three hours and 40-minutes.
In the women’s division, Marian Jade Capadocia continued her amazing run when she dispatched top-seed Katharina Lehnert, 6-3 3-6 6-3, in the finals, adding the seniors crown added to the PCA juniors and Phinma titles she won in the last two months despite playing with a strained left thigh.
“I'm very happy but I know I can still improve,” said the 17-year-old Capadocia.