PPS Masters Top 8 netfest fires off in Iloilo

MANILA, Philippines – Inspired by the success of its inaugural staging, the Junior Philippine Golf Tour goes full blast on its second year with a 10-leg circuit featuring 18-hole tournaments at the country’s top championship courses.

Slated to start in May during the school break, the tour will boast three age-group categories for both boys and girls. The competition structure will see players aged 15-18 clashing in four rounds, while the 8-10 and 11-14 divisions will compete in 36-hole and 54-hole tournaments, respectively.

Mona Sarines, a grand finalist in the girls’ 11-12 class from the inaugural JPGT at The Country Club last October, shared her preparation strategy, emphasizing improvement in her short game and overall course management.

“I prepare by practicing more on my short game and around the green and by improving my course management,” said Sarines.

Mona and siblings Lisa and Vito and three other JPGT campaigners, Tiffany Bernardino, Jacob Casuga and Angelica Bañez graced the launch of the second JPGT yesterday, also at TCC, all expressing their enthusiasm for the upcoming circuit, particularly praising the 18-hole tournament format.

Bernardino, who also reached the grand finals in the girls’ 11-12 side, underscore d the mental challenges of the sport, expressing a passion for overcoming course difficulties and enjoying the game with friends.

“It is great to be on top of the podium, but what matters to me is beating the course, reaching my goals, and consistently improving my game,” said Bernardino. “Golf with all its challenges is a game that engages the mind and toughens the heart yet remains enjoyable. To conquer all the challenges the course brings while enjoying with my friends is motivation enough.”

The first JPGT, initiated by long-time g olf patron Ricky Razon, chairman and CEO of ICTSI, which sponsors the men’s and ladies pro circuits and supports a number of top amateurs and lady pros’ overseas campaigns, also featured an 18-hole tournament and a drive-chip-putt competition to enhance the young players’ overall skills.

Notably, there are no membership fees and the JPGT is distinct from existing junior golf organizations. PGTI general manager Colo Ventosa assured that scheduling conflicts with other junior golf bodies would be avoided, promoting a collaborative environment for the benefit of the young players.

“Everybody is invited to play (in the JPGT),” said Ventosa. “If they have a tournament, we make sure we don’t hold an event at that time, because the more tournaments, the better for the players.”

She also highlighted the JPGT’s role in supporting the growth of professional golf in the Philippines, fostering the next generation of golfers to represent the country globally.

“We’re doing this so that we can also help the Philippine Golf Tour and the Ladies PGT grow,” said Ventosa. “We want to boost the sport in the country and we also want to grow the young players to be the next professional golfers to represent the country abroad, like Bianca (Pagdanganan), Dottie (Ardina) and Princess (Superal).”

Lisa Sarines, preparing for the girls’ 11-14 division, stressed the importance of playing more, practicing rigorously and investing additional hours in her short game.

“With more tournaments and more players, we will definitely have more fun,” said Lisa. “I will prepare by playing more, practicing more and putting more hours into my short game.”

Reflecting on their experiences from the inaugural JPGT, the Sarines sisters and Bernadino noted valuable lessons in focus, composure under pressure and adaptability to different courses. The expanded tournament format raises the stakes, providing an opportunity for players to showcase their refined skills.

“I learned a lot of things from the first JPGT, like staying focused, how to stay calm, even when under pressure, and how to react to the mistakes I make. The pressure will probably be doubled given the fact that there will be more tournaments to play in,” said Mona. 

“Thanks to last year’s JPGT tournaments, I was able to assess my different skills and how to adapt them to different courses. I learned more about my driving, what I need to correct, why my ball goes right or left, how to chip to an uphill green or sideway green, or how to putt from a long distance going down with a big break. My skills have improved, and I’m excited to learn more and develop into being a better golfer,” said Bernardino.

“I learned to put more effort in the different aspects of the game, like my attitude,” said Lisa. “To do my best in every tournaments, and DCP (drive-chip-putt) was fun too because it makes you focus more on each aspect. In 18-hole rounds, it requires you to focus on everything at once.”

In anticipation of a more competitive season, Vito, 10, shared his dedication to physical training, underlining the need for both weight gain and consistent workouts.

“I eat a lot because I need to gain more weight. I work out three times a week and I train both my long and short games every day,” said Vito.

Despite the pressure, he remains motivated to improve his game, recognizing the significance of honing both his long and short game skills.

“I believe that driving is my advantage but I also need to make my short game work,” he said.

As the JPGT gears up for its second year, the young participants are eager to build on their previous Tour stint, demonstrating growth, resilience and a passion for the sport that goes beyond the podium.

MANILA, Philippines – The junior tennis season kicks off Thursday, January 4, with the traditional Masters Top 8 with the top-ranked players in four age-group categories last year clashing for top honors at the Iloilo Sports Complex’s courts in Iloilo City.

This marks the first time that the Province of Iloilo is hosting a tournament of this magnitude with Gov. Arthur Defensor Jr. guaranteeing its successful staging at the ISC synthetic grass courts and LaPaz hard courts.

Kimi Brodeth, Chloe Mercado, Chelsea Bernaldez, Sanshena Francisco, Czarina Miraflor, AJ Acabo, Jasmine Jaran and Faith Blanco banner the girls’ 18-and-under division with Kendrick Bona, Mclean Gomera, Randy Pausanos, Ivan Manila, Ariel Cabaral, Gio Manito, Chad Cuizon and John Lataza disputing the crown in the boys’ side of the premier division presented by the Province of Iloilo.

Under the format, the eight players are divided into two groups with the top two from each pool advancing to the crossover semifinals of the event supported by the Iloilo Sports Development and Management, headed by Ma. Janelyn Fundal and Ray Cabarles. Winners will dispute the crowns in one-game duels.

Making up the 16-and-under cast are Jana Diaz, Erynne Ong, Aleeva Suace, Shara Paliwag, Joy Ansay, Ma. Niña Torrejos, Daveaine Gauran and Queen Villa (girls) and Kenzon Brodeth, Al Tristan Licayan, France Dilao, Aaron Tabura, Reign Maravilla, Frank Dilao, Josh Jim and Francis de Juan (boys).

Meanwhile, the PPS-PEPP juniors circuit ushers in its new regular season with the staging of the Kasadyahan and Dinagyang Festival National Juniors Tennis Championships on January 8-12, also in Iloilo City.

For details and listup, contact event organizer Bobby Mangunay at 0915-4046464.

Headling the field in the girls’ 14-and-under category are Ave Maria Policarpio, Ronielle Oliveros, Chrystell Laguna, Isobel Alipo-on, Cadee Jan Dagoon, Alexa Cruspero, Loraine Jallorina and Julienne Celeste (girls) while Lexious Cruz, Adrian Rodriguez, Aljohn Rombawa and David Ezra Sepulveda lead the chase in the boys’ side of the circuit put up by Palawan Pawnshop president/CEO Bobby Castro and backed by Slazenger and Dunlop.

Others in the boys’ 14-and-U fold are Anthony Castigador, Julio Naredo, Pete Bandala and Dean Palaroan, while Maristela Torrecampo, Gabrielle Bulado, Justine Gumbao, Stella Policarpio, Ma. Caroliean Fiel, Lilith Rufino, Maria Ataiza and Etha Seno banner the girls’ 12-and-under cast.

Disputing the boys’ 12-and-U trophy are Claudwin Tonacao, Joshua Stewart, James Estrella, Enzo Niere, Xian Calagos, Pete Niere, Marcus Go and Francisco de Juan.

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