MANILA, Philippines - PJ Tierro endured an aching ankle and pounced on Jeson Patrombon’s sputtering endgame to emerge victorious in their thrilling marathon encounter, 7-6 (6), 6-7 (3), 7-6 (6), and advance into the quarterfinals of the 32nd Philippine Columbian Association Open yesterday at the PCA courts in Paco.
Pushed to a corner by Patrombon in the deciding set, the second seeded Tierro gutsily fought back and pressed on until he was rewarded with the come-from-behind victory in the Last-16 entanglement that lasted three hours and 10 minutes.
“Ang hirap, kasi masakit yung paa ko, hindi ako maka-backhand pag nag-step in, so nag-slice slice lang. Pero pag nag-slice naman ako, pinapatay agad ni Jeson, kaya ang hirap. Yun na lang, never say die; it’s not over till you shake hands (It was a struggle. My ankle injury forced me to slice and Jeson was always neutralizing them. It’s really more about never say die spirit),” said Tierro.
Defending champion Johnny Arcilla had an easier road to the Last-8, pulling off a 6-1, 6-0 mangling of Antonio Sagansay.
Also through were No. 3 Elbert Anasta, 6-2, 6-4 winner over Arcie Manio; No. 4 Marc Reyes, 6-0, 6-2 victor over Joseph Arcilla; No. 5 Rolando Ruel, 6-1, 7-6 (5) conqueror of Roel Capangpangan; No. 7 Leander Lazaro, 6-4, 6-2 winner over Calvin Canlas; and No. 11 Kim Saraza, 6-2, 6-4 victor over Dheo Talatayod.
In women’s play, three-peat-seeking Marian Jade Capadocia thumped Marigold Nagret, 6-1, 6-0, to lead the quarterfinal march.
Second seed Clarice Patrimonio nipped Jzash Canja, 6-1, 6-4; No. 3 Edilyn Balanga beat Rafaella Villanueva, 6-0, 6-1; No. 4 Maika Tanpoco waylaid Anna Bienes, 6-1, 6-0; No. 5 Hannah Espinosa defeated Mary Grace Melchor, 6-2, 6-0; No. 6 Macy Gonzales drubbed Jennylyn Magpayo, 6-0, 6-1; No. 7 Khim Iglupas whipped Khrizelle Sampaton, 6-1, 6-1; and No. 8 Rachelle de Guzman turned back Irene Mateo, 6-2, 6-2.
The No. 13 Patrombon seized a 5-2 upperhand in the decider but Tierro willed himself back and tied it, 5-5. Patrombon got to 6 games first but Tierro held serve in the 12th game to force tiebreak No. 3 in the tightly fought contest.
Patrombon threatened at 6-2 in the tiebreak but a crucial error gave Tierro hope and the latter took advantage, winning the next six games to steal the win.
“Just play on, kahit minsan nadi-discourage; andun ka na, just give your all,” said Tierro, who next faces No. 6 Jonard Joven, who won by default over AJ Lim.
“Sayang, akin na yun, nahirapan lang tapusin (Tough luck, I just let it slip away, I had trouble closing out),” said cramps-hit Patrombon, who also blew a 5-2 lead in the first set to lose it via tiebreak, 6-8.
The PCA Open is presented by Cebuana Lhuillier and co-sponsored by official tennis ball Dunlop, Babolat, Head, Pag-ibig and Fujidenzo/Whirlpool.