Pague and Olivarez take the lead in the unfolding of the Iloilo Open

The first MITF National Open Tennis Championships kicked off on Wednesday in Iloilo City, with top seed Jose Maria Pagua seeking redemption from a last finals trip slip and Eric Olivarez fueling his own drive for another major crown. The tournament features thirty other bidders made up of the country’s top guns and emerging stars in the 32-player men’s singles draw.

Both Pagua and Olivarez are determined to make a mark in pursuit of the top P60,000 prize. Pagua faces David Aligaen while the No. 2 Olivarez tangles with Elemar Sealza in the lower half of the draw. In other key opening day matches, No. 3 Josshua Kinaadman clashes with Litz de Juan, and fourth ranked Vicente Anasta tests Benedict Santiago’s mettle. The event will also feature men’s, women’s and mixed Open doubles, as well as the Legends men’s doubles for 40s, 50s, and 60s.

To accommodate the big number of entries, the juniors tournament will be played at the LaPaz courts. The men’s doubles champions will receive P40,000 with Kinaadman and Olivarez gunning for back-to-back feats against the tandems of Anasta and Noel Damian, Pague and Bryan Saarenas, and Ledama and Justin Suarez, among other teams.

Multi-titled Johnny Arcilla was set to lead the cast but sustained an injury while building up for the event and opted to withdraw, while Lim begged off to focus on the PCA Open. The tournament promises a week-long test of power, styles, and endurance for the participants.

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