D Cuppers lead all-star cast in PCA Open

By Olmin Leyba

Cebuana Lhuillier CEO and PCA presentor Jean Henri Lhuillier (center) discusses the mechanics of the 31st PCA Open Tennis Championship during the event launch at the Philippine Columbian Association in Paco, Manila. With him are Randy Villanueva (left), vice president of the Philippine Tennis Association, and Roland Kraut, PCA Open chairman. JUN MENDOZA

MANILA, Philippines - Fil-Am Treat Huey and Ruben Gonzales compete for the first time in the 31st PCA Open Tennis Championships 2012 presented by Cebuana Lhuillier, leading an all-star cast in the netfest slated Nov. 10-Dec. 9 at the Philippine Columbian Association courts.

Huey and Gonzales, spearheads of the Phl Davis Cup team, join fellow Cuppers Johnny Arcilla, the six-time PCA men’s singles champions, young guns Jeson Patrombon and Francis Casey Alcantara, and Elbert Anasta in the main draw of the centerpiece men’s singles, alongside Fil-German Marc Sieber and youthful Jurence Mendoza.

“It’s going to be a great tournament in singles. These are our best players in the Phl today and this edition should be the best in terms of quality of games. I think the rankings of the participants speak for themselves,” said Jean Henri Lhuillier, CEO of presentor Cebuana Lhuillier, during yesterday’s launch.

Sieber is the highest-ranked player in the field with an ATP singles ranking of 546, returning to the annual tourney that he ruled in 2010. The 16-year-old Mendoza, a practice player for the Phl DC team, looks to make another go at the premier crown, having finished a fighting second to Arcilla last year.

Gonzales, 27, is ranked 874th in the ATP while Patrombon is at 1,001. Huey has a singles ranking of 1,044 but is inside the top 100 in doubles play, at 40th. Phl No. 1 Arcilla, winner in 2001, 2006-2009, and 2011, seeks to “defend his favorite playground” while Alcantara, the 2009 Australian Open juniors doubles champ, aims to go all the way to the singles crown after landing in the semis in 2008 and 2009.

Fil-German Katharina Lehnert, ranked 444th in the WTA, makes her maiden appearance in the PCA to lead the women’s contenders along with defending singles champion Marian Capadocia and Phl No. 1 Clarice Patrimonio. Also expected to vie for honors are Marinel Rudas and five-time titlist Czarina Mae Arevalo.

Aside from singles events, the netfest will feature competitions in men’s and women’s team events, as well as age groups, which have been elevated to Grade 1 from Grade 2.

Lhuillier also announced the increase in total prize money to P600,000 from its previous pot of P500,000.

“We’re very proud to be the major sponsor for the fifth year. This year is our 25th year as a brand and so Cebuana Lhuillier will be adding P100,000 to our usual endeavor of P500,000 in the 2012 PCA Open,” said Lhuillier in the launch also attended by PCA Open chairman Roland Kraut, Philippine Tennis Association vice president Randy Villanueva, Vince Juico of PCSO, Palermo Soriano, Jr. of KIA Motors, and Liza Tang of Dynamic Sports Corp.

“The competition level will be high for this year and the P600,000 in total prizes will also be the highest,” said Kraut.

The age groups, club championships and team events will kick off action from Nov. 10 onwards followed by the qualifying for the main draw. The singles and doubles will blast off Dec. 1-9.


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