UTP National Championship Athletes Set to Debut on International Stage
By Marlon Bernardino
Wed, 29 Nov 2023
The grassroots tennis program of avid tennis patron Jean Henri Lhuillier makes headway once again as a new breed of Unified Tennis Philippines (UTP) National Championship athletes gear up to compete in two different tournaments in Malaysia from November 29 to December 8, 2023.
The UTP, under the leadership of Jean Henri for 7 years now, has been responsible for supporting top junior players to play in Asian junior tournaments. Through the UTP, Lhuillier continues to support nationwide tournaments in both junior and open sections.
For the tournaments in Malaysia, only 16 athletes were selected by the UTP, and these include the top two in their respective age-group categories during the UTP National Championship Elite Eight Playoffs held at Negros Occidental earlier this year.
UTP National Championship Elite Eight Playoff Under-12 Boys Category Champion Alexandre Coyiuto expressed his excitement at being chosen to go to Malaysia. “I am very happy that I was able to win because I was very stressed during the whole tournament. I’m super excited that I’m able to go to Malaysia. This will be my first time!"
In the Under-12 Girls Category of the same tournament, Maristella Torrecampo, hailing from Laguna, was awarded the crown after winning her category. The young champion said, “Masarap sa pakiramdam dahil makapupunta ako sa international. Ang gagawin ko roon ay dapat may gameplan at confidence.”
Jana Nicole Diaz, the winner of the Under-14 Girls Category, dominated the tournament and is now happy to be able to play in Malaysia. “Nagpapasalamat po ako sa UTP para sa opportunity na makapaglaro rito. Masaya po ang pakiramdam na makakapaglaro sa Malayisa.”
Likewise, in the Under-14 Boys Category, Kenzo Brodeth was also dominant in his matchups. “Sobrang excited na makapaglaro sa Malaysia dahil first time ko makabiyahe ng international at makapaglaro roon,” according to Brodeth.
Under-16 Girls Category winner Maria Divinagracia from Bacolod was able to sweep her games and bag her own championship. “I’m really happy I won because I can compete in Malaysia. I thank my mom and dad for supporting me all the way through."
For the Under-16 Boys Category counterpart, Mcleen Gomera was able to bag the title after a thrilling 3-set match. “Dream ko talaga pumunta ng Malaysia at sana manalo ako."
Mica Ella Emana, who was the Champion in the Under-18 Girls category of the same tournament, expressed that she was happy to be able to go to Malaysia and play tennis. “Kasama sa dream ko ang makapunta roon at makalaro. Tapos syempre, maipanalo ang team ko."
Vince Serna of Butuan City won the Under-18 Boys Category as well, saying that he did not expect to make it to the finals—yet alone prevail. “Ang goal ko muna is makapasok sa finals ng tournament para makapaglaro ako sa first international tournament ko sa ibang bansa."
Jean Henri Lhuillier voiced out his excitement and pride as the athletes prepare to set foot on the global stage: “They are the future of tennis and future role models in the tennis scene in the country. We are immensely proud of their accomplishments and cannot wait to see them grow and become the best version of themselves."
Competing alongside these athletes are Ma. Caroliean Fiel, Armik Gabrio Serillo, Jayden Reece Ballado, Lexious Gabriez Cruz, Kimi Alyana Brodeth, John Kendrick Bona, Kaye Ann Emana, and Mateo Rivas. -Marlon Bernardino-
Click here to view a list of other articles written by Marlon Bernardino.
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