FAVORITE Johnny Arcilla continued to live up to his top biling as he breezed past Norman Enriquez, 6-0, 6-2, yesterday barge into the quarterfinals and move closer to extending his title reign in the 39th PCA Open Tennis Championships at its Plaza Dilao, Paco indoor court.
Mr. Arcilla needed just a little more than an hour to dispatch Mr. Enriquez and book a spot in the round-of-eight where he clashes with either John Sonsona or a comebacking former PCA champion Joseph Victorino.
If he does, he will inch closer and closer to a 10th championship, the most in this annual tournament bankrolled by Smart/PLDT, official ball Dunlop, Manila councilor Jong Isip, San Jose Salt, W. L. Food Products, Palawan Pawnshop and Pagcor.
“I’m taking it a day at a time,” said the 42-year-old many-time Davis Cupper and two-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist.
While Mr. Arcilla had a walk in the park, Elbert Anasta and Jose Maria Pague needed a third and deciding set to advance with wins over Alexa Acabo, 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (2), and Fritz Verdad, 1-6, 7-5, 6-4, respectively.
Mr. Anasta, 40, battled cramps in ekeing out the come-from-behind win while Mr. Pague, 22, pounced on the fatigued sixth-seeded Mr. Verdad, who fought through cramps but to no avail, in snatching the triumph.
Both Messrs. Anasta and Pague are eyeing to surpass their best finish here — a semifinal effort.
“I almost gave up. Good thing I didn’t,” said Mr. Anasta, an Army sergeant from Himamaylan, Negros Occidental.
“It was a tough win even though he (Mr. Verdad) was cramping almost the whole third set,” said the 22-year-old Mr. Pague, who hails from Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay.
In the other men’s singles result, Jose Antonio Tria ended Jude Michael Padao’s dream run with a 6-3, 6-1 win.
In women’s singles, Alexa Joy Milliam blasted Mikaela Vicencio, 6-1, 6-1, and Justine Hannah Maneja turned back Joana Tan, 6-4, 6-4, to advance to the quarters of this tilt backed by GAC Motors, GIMACA Convenience Store and Development Corp., Ourzen Chicken, HEAD, Ms. Rina Caniza, Mr. Benito Tan, Primo Dept Fuel Station, Kaizan Steel Trading, Cazneau, Inc. and Knaut Art Glass.
Also barging into the next phase were Makeliah Nepomuceno and Kyle Emana, who eliminated Angeline Alcala, 6-4, 6-2, and Kryshanna Brazal, 6-2, 6-0, respectively. — Joey Villar