FOR the indefatigable Johnny Arcilla, age is just a number.
At 42 years old, Mr. Arcilla is still going strong as he barged into the second round in both the men’s singles and doubles events of the 39th Philippine Columbian Association Open Tennis Championships at its Plaza Dilao, Paco indoor shell court.
Showing exceptional form, the Southeast Asian Games gold medalist and many-time Davis Cupper hurdled John Jeremiah Tomacruz, 6-2, 6-2, Saturday and then teamed up with long-time doubles partner Jonard Joven in ousting Mario and Reymart Sabas, 6-0, 6-2, yesterday.
The proud son of Butuan is gunning for a record 10th singles title in the annual event considered as the biggest and richest tennis tournament in the land with a cash purse worth around P1.1 million courtesy of Smart/PLDT, official ball Dunlop, Manila councilor Jong Isip, San Jose Salt, W. L. Food Products, Palawan Pawnshop and Pagcor.
He is also seeking a third straight doubles crown since partnering with Joven five years ago.
And Mr. Arcilla feels he is as strong as ever.
“I’ve tapped Roland Kraut to coach me for this event and I’ve been working out with Casey (Alcantara) in Las Piñas to prepare for this event,” said Mr. Arcilla. “I’ve focused more on my fitness in favor of playing games.”
But there will be challenges as second seed Jeson Patrombon, comebacking Joseph Victorino, Indian Muthu Aashitiya Senthilkumar and Spaniard Guillermo Olasa all came through to barghe into the second round.
Mr. Patrombon blanked qualifier Lawrence Quitara, 6-0, 6-0; Senthilkumar survived Loucas Fernandez, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6, and Olaso crushed Jarel Edangga, 6-1, 6-3, in this meet 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.
In other doubles results, Kristian Tesorio and Rafael Liancgo bested Rollie Anasta and Jeson Blando, 6-1, 6-3; Abdulquohar Allian and Argil Lance Canizares outlasted Bruce Ivan Valenzuela and Jose Gadon, 5-7, 6-4, 13-11; Andrei Cagmat and Elvin Geluz beat Joseph Victorino and Roy Tan, 6-3, 2-6, 10-8; John Jeric Accion and John Altiche bashed Alfonso Villar and Jan Latrell Javier, 6-0, 6-1; Heinz Carbonilla and Lajer Gonzaga defeated JD Benitez and Hilbert San Jose, 7-6 (2), 6-4; and Jose Antonio Tria and Bryan Saarenas slammed Jeffry Villanueva and Mitchie Frencillo, 6-3, 6-2. — Joey Villar