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Fuertes, Cua defy odds in Jubahib Cup

MANILA, Philippines — Stephen Fuertes and Dhea Cua defied the odds, including the top seeds, to secure victories in the premier division of the Gov. Edwin Jubahib Cup National Tennis Championships in Davao del Norte last Sunday.

The third-ranked Fuertes stunned No. 1 Jason Battad in the semis, 6-3, 6-4, then thwarted fourth seed Bench Neri, 7-6(3), 6-2, as the Digos City native topped the boys’ 18-and-under category in the first of two Group 2 tournaments presented by Dunlop at the DavNor Tourism Sports Complex courts.

Cua produced the more impressive result as the unranked player from Kidapawan City repulsed No. 6 Jasmen Kadalum, 5-4(4), 4-1, in the second round, turned back fourth ranked Sanschena Francisco in the next, 6-3, 7-6(5), and trounced No. 4 Faith Lazaro, 6-4, 6-2, in the semis.

In the final, she defeated top seed Chelsea Bernaldez, 6-2, 6-4.

Fuertes showcased his skills further as he also won the 16-U title with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Battad. Fuertes and Cua shared the MVP honors in the tournament organized by Palawan Pawnshop headed by president/CEO Bobby Castro.