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Padao-Gilbuena tandem moves to last-16 in men’s double

YOUTHFUL sensation Jude Michael Padao continued to make heads turn as he teamed up with Harvey Gilbuena as they bested Jackey Mirabueno and Vince Serino, 6-2, 6-4, yesterday to advance to the round-of-16 in the men’s doubles of the PCA Open Tennis Championships in Plaza Dilao, Paco.

Mr. Padao, a 16-year-old gem of a find from Digos, Davao del Sur, and Mr. Gilbuena, however, may run into a collision course with the top-ranked Johnny Arcilla and Ronard Joven, who were battling Jules and Alex Lazaro at press time.

The honor student at Corjeso College, who made it to the main draw as a qualifier, has been making a noise in the men’s singles after he eked out a giant-sized 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 win over 11th seed Alberto Villamor the day before to join the big boys in the next round.

It was a win that came a couple of days after Mr. Padao slew Rodolfo Barquin, a two-time UAAP champion when he was still with University of the East, in another three-setter, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, in the opener last Saturday.

And Mr. Padao isn’t about to slow down. “I will keep going for a win,” said Mr. Padao in this meet bankrolled by Smart/PLDT, official ball Dunlop, Manila councilor Jong Isip, San Jose Salt, W. L. Food Products, Palawan Pawnshop and Pagcor.

Interestlingly, Mr. Padao was the last of the qualifiers and joined an elite group in the next phase headed by former champions Mr. Arcilla, who won nine times here, Jeson Patrombon (2018) and Joseph Victorino (2002).

In men’s doubles, second seed Leander Lazaro and Fritz Verdad dumped Jose Bernardo and Mateo Rivas, 6-2, 6-0, to surge through the round-of-16 in 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 making the cut were Kristian Tesorio and Rafael Liangco, who edged John Altiche and John Jeric Accion, 6-4, 5-7, 10-5; Alberto Villamor and Rash Manatad, who downed Andrei Cagamat and Elvin Geluz, 6-4, 6-0; John Tomacruz and Franklin Encarnacion, who waylaid Mathew Crisosto and Maraphael Teng, 6-0, 6-4; Alexis Acabao and Erik Tangub, who ousted Gab Bandoquillo and Feb Deja, 6-3, 7-5; and Jose Antonio Tria and Bryan Saarenas, who slammed Abdulqouhar Allian and Argil Lance Canizares, 6-3, 6-2. — Joey Villar

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