Unseeded John David Velez and Filipino-Australian Crystal Mildwaters were crowned 18-under champions in the 30th edition of the Andrada Cup Age Group Championships at the Rizal Memorial Tennis Center yesterday.
The 14-year-old Velez, who hails from Davao City, bagged the boys' 18-under title over sixth seed Rupert Ohrelle Tortal of Surigao del Norte, 7-5, 6-3.
He also pocketed the 16-under title after posting a 6-2, 6-2 upset win over top seed Axl Lajon Gonzaga of Zambales.
" I'm so happy because they were good players but I was able to win," said Velez, who banked on his steady baseline game to overcome his opponents in the tournament organized by the Philippine Tennis Association (PHILTA) in honor of its former president, Col. Salvador Andrada.
Velez, who won the 14-under title over Tortal two years ago, has attended a three-month training at the Mac’s Crankit Tennis Academy in Sydney, Australia last year. He is a Grade 8 student at Letran College.
Tortal, winner of the 14-under title in the PSC-PHILTA tournament two weeks ago, expressed humility in defeat. "He (Velez) played well and he deserved to win," said Tortal, a Grade 8 student at Surigao City National High School. "I'm glad to be in the final and I'll try to perform better in future tournaments," said the 14-year-old Tortal.
He won the doubles title with Brent Signmond Cortes and was runner-up in the singles event in the 13th Asian Tennis Federation (ATF) 14-under series in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia last year. Mildwaters, whose Filipino mother is from Cebu, pulled off a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Ma. Patricia Lim in the final to win her third title while on holiday in the Philippines.
She was champion in the 18-under and 16-under two years ago. "It was definitely a tough one," said the 17-year-old Mildwaters when asked to describe her final match against the top-seeded Lim.
"She was very strong mentally. She hit the ball pretty hard so I had to stay in the rallies. I tried to be consistent," added the 5-foot-6 netter based in Perth. She arrived on December 17 and will return to Australia on January 23.
"My goal this year is to compete in the ITF Juniors Circuit to earn points," said Mildwaters, who has been training under Australian father-and-son coaches John and Tate Roberts since she was nine years old. She has won a national tournament in Adelaide three years ago.
Meanwhile, unranked Exequiel Jucutan of Manaoag, Pangasinan defeated second seed Marc Andrei Jarata of Agoo, La Union, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, in the boys’ 14-under final. Both are members of the gold medal-winning team in the 2017 Palarong Pambansa in Antique.
"It’s my mental toughness that made me win today," said the 13-year-old Jucutan, who won the individual gold medal at the Batang Pinoy National Finals in Baguio City last year. He got the bronze medal in the doubles event with Joshua Molina.
In the girls' 12-under category, Marc Andrei's sister, top seed Marielle Alexi won the title over second seed Jayden Reece Ballado, 6-1, 6-2.
The boys' 12-under title went to unseeded Cebuano Chad Connor Cuizon, who beat fourth seed Kean Sebastian Enriquez of Imus, Cavite, 6-0, 2-6, 6-2.
In the girls’ 16-under category, unseeded Alexa Joy Milliam of La Carlota, Negros Occidental prevailed over Jenaila Prulla of Quezon City, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4), to win the title.
Prulla, the 2018 PCA Open Juniors champion and Batang Pinoy National Finals gold medalist, had earlier won her 14-under championship match against second seed Angeline Alcala of Lucena City, 6-0, 6-0.
In the 10-under unisex category, top seed Kriz Roque Lim of Pangasinan secured the title following a 4-5, 4-0, 4-0 victory over second seed Jayden Reece Ballado. "It was a hard-earned victory. She played so well," said the nine-year-old Lim, a Grade 5 student at the Lyceum of Northern Luzon in Urdaneta.
He also defeated Ballado, 2-4, 4-0, 4-2, in the final of the PSC-PHILTA tournament last December. In the 8-under unisex category, Andre Coyuito downed Sergius Immanuel Canque, 4-1, 4-0, in the finals.*PNA
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