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Lim on a roll, rules Gov. Bautista Open netfest

MANILA, Philippines – Alberto Lim Jr. put up another stellar play leading to a third straight men’s singles Open crown, holding off top seed Jose Maria Pague, 6-3, 6-4, in the finals of the Gov. Franklin Bautista National Tennis Championship at the Malita Tennis Court in Davao Occidental over the weekend.

But the 24-year-old former UE standout failed to complete a sweep as he and Lance Fernandez bowed to the top-ranked pair of Josshua Kinaadman and Eric Olivarez, 4-6, 3-6, in the men’s doubles of the Group A tournament sponsored by Gov. Franklin Bautista and held in conjunction with the Araw ng Davao Occidental celebrations.

On his way to the championship, Lim rammed past juniors campaigner Randy Pausanos, 6-0, 6-0; Fernandez, 6-1, 6-2; Eric Tangub, 6-2, 6-2; before repulsing No. 2 Kinaadman, 6-3, 7-5, in the semis.

Pague, on the other hand, outlasted Olivarez in the semis, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3, but came up short in the finals, yielding to Lim’s aggressive play.

Lim thus nailed his third straight championship after a two-year hiatus due to illness. He returned to competitive play in the Brookside Open last April and topped the Olivarez Cup last August. He also reigned in the Alturas Bohol Cup last month.

His latest feat netted him P100,000, doubling his winnings at Olivarez while gaining ranking points in his continuing effort to reach the top of the ladder.

Lim and Fernandez actually jumped the gun early on the Kinaadman-Olivarez tandem in the doubles finals, seizing a 3-1 lead, but the latter regrouped and took the next three games to wrest control. After the former held in the eighth game to draw level, Kinaadman and Olivarez held serve then broke their rivals to clinch the opening set.

After a hold-hold game in the second frame, Kinaadman and Olivarez won the next three and stayed in control to complete the victory and foil Lim’s bid for a second title in the week-long event which staked a total purse of P403,000 put up by Gov. Bautista.

Meanwhile, unranked James Aquino toppled top seed Pausanos, 6-0, 6-1, in the semis then the Tagum City ace ripped No. 2 Thomas Gabuat, 6-2, 6-2, to snare the boys’ 18-and-under title in the Grand Slam Juniors of the tournament held