Ball boy tries luck in C. Lhuillier qualifiers

By Iste S. Leopoldo
Sunday, April 15, 2012

DESPITE losing in the qualifying round, 23-year-old Rene “Boy” Salahid felt like a winner after overcoming his fear and fulfilling his dream of competing in the 5th Cebuana Lhuillier men’s open qualifiers at the Baseline Tennis Courts.

Salahid succumbed to Yoyoy Villa, 8-5, in the second round and Villa earned the right to face Dwight Montuya in today’s quarterfinals.

“It’s a dream come true to finally be competing in a tournament like this,” Salahid said in Cebuano. Salahid has worked as a ball boy since he was 12 years old at the Mandaue Tennis Courts.

Since he was young, he has watched several kids his age competing and has dreamt that one day he would join one of the local age group tournaments. However, he failed to do that.

“There was no one to support me, and I couldn’t afford the registration fees,” said Salahid, who is the third child in a brood of nine.

The tennis court served as his second home and he is now teaching the fundamentals of the sport. One of the people who saw his potential and pushed him to give it a try in the qualifying was Christian Babao Tiongko.

“This is my first major tournament, this will be my springboard in joining more tournaments and preparing for next year’s edition,” Salahid said.

Tiongko, who is one of Cebu’s top players, is also in the qualifiers and will take on Bernardine Niño Siso today. Tiongko beat Dexter Looc, 8-4, yesterday, while Siso booted out Julrico Pagsiat, 8.3

Crowd favorite Jun Tabura beat Edwin Bacarisas, 8-3, and will face Al Michael Madrio, an 8-1 winner over John Villa. Dan Cinco lost 8-7 (5) to Shanur Khandaker, who will take on Ofel Lascuna today. Lascuna routed Dodong Solon, 8-4.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 16, 2012.


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