By LARRY ANDREW
WARRIOR Aquastrong and Oracle Pacific claimed the Lae Tennis Club division-A and division-B doubles titles respectively in the Morobe capital last weekend.
All doubles matches were up to nine with a tie-breaker at eight-all.
The third-place play-off of division-B saw Prima Smallgoods beating Lae Biscuit Company while Panamex had to fight hard to beat Chemcare for the third spot in division-A.
In the division-A grand final, both Bismark Maritime and Warrior Aquastrong were seeking their maiden team tournament title.
The competition was evident from the start with the first doubles match being very close between Bismark’s Ronald Naya and Jeff Yuill against Warrior’s LJ Domalaon and Troy Hewson.
Domalaon is the highest-ranked junior already playing in Division-A, level three.
He had recently won the Under-19 title of the Panamex Tennis Singles Open.
The match went to a tie-break at eight-all, but Naya and Yuill came away with the win for Bismark to take a 9-8 lead.
In the second and final doubles match, Bismark’s Ron Neville and Martin Caberio went up against Warrior Glenn Cabasug and Domalaon.
The Warrior pair combined to race out to a 5-0 lead. Although Neville and Caberio managed to claw back three games, it was not enough as Cabasug and Domalaon went on to win 9-3 and claim victory for Warrior.
In the division-B grand final, joining the tournament for their first time, Oracle Pacific reached the grand finals against former champions RD Tuna Canners.
The first doubles match between Oracle’s Marisa Dirckze and Roberta Mark against RD Tuna’s Joseph Duran and Vilma Santos was tight.
The highest-ranked female junior, Mark had recently won the U19 title of the Panamex Tennis Singles Open.
It was another close match, reaching a tiebreak at 8-all.
But in the end, Dirckze and Mark won 9-8 for a 1-0 lead.
The second match was between Oracle’s Christian Nastor and Jonah Baluntang against RD Tuna’s Emilio Caldo and Glenn Arcenal.
Nastor and Baluntang took a commanding lead.
But at 5-2, Baluntang experienced cramps and a 10-minute injury break followed.
After some medical help, she and Nastor were able to continue and win 9-4. After winning both doubles matches, Oracle Pacific took home the division-B title. President Cabasug thanked his club’s sponsors and players for supporting the tournaments.
“Clearly, these tournaments have had a big impact on their confidence and skills,” he said.
By LARRY ANDREW