COTANGENT – By Daphne Cardillo
Monday, October 16, 2006. We’re just done with the Governor’s Cup over the weekend, and our team won. The two day affair was so enjoyable with thrills, yells, and laughter amidst the scorching heat and a sudden blast of rain showers that fell on Saturday, practically stalling the games for over two hours.
The Regional Lawn Tennis Team Championship is held yearly in Tacloban in time for the Leyte Landing Anniversary Celebration. Dubbed as the ‘Governor’s Cup,’ this annual competition is open to the different Tennis Clubs in Leyte and Samar. Now on its seventh year, the event first started under the aegis of former governor Remedios “Matin” Petilla and later carried on by her son, now Governor Carlos Jericho “Icot” Petilla.
We had seven teams competing for six matches this year; tennis clubs from Maasin, Hilongos, Baybay, and Tacloban, of Leyte and from Catbalogan, Salcedo, Mac Arthur, of Samar. The Leyte Lawn Tennis Club of Tacloban emerged as the overall champion during the final games played last Sunday.
Highlighting the whole competition was the final match under the Men’s Open Singles category played between the nationally renowned Frank Paguyo representing Maasin and our homegrown talent Eric Balorio of Tacloban. Paguyo is a top seeder of the Philippine Team in his heyday many years back then, and so, the challenge was for Balorio to make as much points against the national player.
It was a very good show for both players at the court, a clean and beautiful game, and a fine performance for Balorio. At first, I gave Eric four points to make out of eight but when he scored one point while his opponent still had two, the odds became higher. Bets were made for five to win, six to win, and seven to win for Balorio.
The bout became so thrilling and exhilarating to watch for in every ‘in’ ball that Balorio made, the crowd exclaimed despite the ‘silence while the ball is at play’ rule; more so for the sophisticated underspins of Paguyo. And in the end, Balorio scored seven against Paguyo’s eight, to the crowd’s delight and warm applause.
Eric’s strokes are basically forehand and a double handed backhand with a topspin done at a more or less the same angle, so his errors were mostly on timing, hitting the ball with his racket a little early or late. But it is exactly these same ground strokes done with precision and finesse that gave him his winning points. And it was a splendid performance.
You will see a schooled and cultured tennis player who has learned the craft; learning it early and doing it right, playing and practicing without compromising the basic rules of the sport. True to form. Moreover, the young man has a cool head, high endurance and a pack of energy that can only be accounted to a disciplined mind and body.
Now the weekend is over and on to a higher ground. Tennis is one sport you can do at age ten, twenty, thirty and well into your seventies and good for your mind and body. For those who want to start it early and start it right, we have a Youth Development Program held every Saturday and Sunday for young boys and girls from 5-18 years old. At only PhP20 per session, the tennis clinic is scheduled in the mornings with two sessions for beginners and advanced group. Please call 321-9427 or visit the Leyte Lawn Tennis Club at Magsaysay Boulevard in Tacloban.