From “pulot girl” (ball girl) to national champion.
Fourteen-year-old Jana Pages, whose fascination with tennis was heightened by a stint as ball girl in past Davis Cup ties held in the country, ruled the girls’ singles finals of the recent POC-PSC Batang Pinoy 2012 national finals in Iloilo City.
Her 6-1, 6-1 victory over Melanie Faye Dizon completed a singles’ sweep for Cebu City, which also took a silver and a bronze during the nationwide meet for 15-year-olds and younger.
Jan Godfrey Seno prevailed over Christopher Encarnacion in all-Cebu City boys’ singles finals while Pages and Shyne Villareal added a bronze in the girls’ doubles.
The performance enabled Cebu City, more known for breeding boxers and basketball players, to upstage traditional tennis powers like Cagayan de Oro, Gen. Santos City and Metro Manila.
The 5-foot-4 Pages was named after Czech legend Jana Novotna, who won at Wimbledon in 1998—the year Pages was born. And Pages is aching to prove she shares more than just a first name with the tennis superstar.
The latest gold medal was simply the cherry on Pages’ 2012. She has won 13 titles this year, making her one of the country’s most promising players.
Pages picked up stray balls during the Davis Cup ties against Japan and Chinese Taipei played in Lapu Lapu City last year.
Her father, businessman and sports columnist John Pages, said she started playing at 8 and has steadily improved to become No. 4 in the country in the 14-under division. She was hailed as the Most Outstanding Athlete in the recent Milo National Little Olympics held in Marikina City.