MARC Sieber and Ruben Gonzales kick off their men’s singles campaigns today against lesser known foes at the start of the Philippine Columbian Association (PCA) Open tennis championships presented by Cebuana Lhuillier at PCA shell-clay courts.
The top seed Sieber, the Filipino-German who won the title two years, will take on Jarryd Manduriao at 10 a.m. at centercourt, while PH Davis Cupper Gonzales makes his debut in the tournament against junior standout Dheo Talatayod at 1 p.m.
The 24-year Fil-German, whose mother hails from Cagayan de Oro, beat the tourney’s legendary champion Johnny Arcilla in the 2010 finals. He is ranked 516th in the world.
Known for his speed and cool demeanor, Sieber has been trying to play for the national team but has yet to secure a Filipino passport.
Sieber, Gonzales and Treat Huey were flown in to play in the 31st PCA Open by longtime tennis backer Jean Henri Lhuillier who shouldered their plane fare and accommodations.
“This is the toughest PCA Open ever in terms of talent,” said national coach and PCA Open chair Roland Kraut. “For the first time, we gathered the best Filipino players both homegrown and foreign-blooded. We are very excited to see who among them will emerge as the best.”
Huey, who will also be making his maiden PCA performance, will play tomorrow against Enrique Ferrer. Six-time champion Arcilla begins his bid today against a qualifier yet to be determined.