Filipino teens to compete in 2 tourneys

The Philippine Tennis Academy (PTA), a privately funded tennis development program launched last year, will send two of its young trainee- athletes to Malaysia and Thailand to compete in international tournaments.

Khim Iglupas, 13, from Tubod, Lanao del Norte, and Arthur Pantino, 11, a native of Ormoc City, will join Asian Tennis Federation (ATF) tournament in Kuching, Sarawak, Kota Kinabalu and Sabah in Malaysia and in Bangkok Thailand, from August to October.

Pantion, a diminutive power hitter who has been playing in older age groups after dominating 12- under local tournaments, may also be sent to California to compete in 12-under competitions that will culminate with the Orange Bowl in Florida.

“For his size and age, Arthur already plays a power game similar to the style of Andre Agassi, while Khim has more variety in her shots. Aside from the regular training schedule we patterned after Spain, we are also following the model that worked before for Felix Barrientos and Nino Alcantara, who compted regularly abroad at a young age and were able to get America college scholarships,” said PTA Program Director Andy Maglipon.

“I want to play and win in Wimbledon in the future,” said Pantino, who is in school under a home study program with the University of San Carlos Cebu.

Iglupas, described by the PTA coaching staff headed by Jun Toledo as a gifted player, said “My dream is to play in Grand Slam tournaments.”

Pantino and Iglupas were discovered by tennis patron Rommie Chann, who together with Jean Henri Lhuillier, Oscar Hilado and Hanky Lee, are the primary backers of the PTA.

PTA has already set up satellite training centers in different areas in the Visayas and Mindanao as part of its talent-identification program.

“We need to have more kids included in our program but we also need to raise more funds for thus,” said Maglipon.

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