Hot City was filled to its capacity as the Saipan Tennis Association held its Christmas party and awards ceremony for the 3rd Annual Taga Tennis Tournament Saturday night.
Many championship, runner-up, and special trophies were presented to well-deserving netters.
Young gun Ji Hoon Heo, although not in attendance, won the men’s open singles with a four-hour long victory over veteran Peter Loyola, while Nanding Cajigan had a tough time but still managed to beat Buddy Garote in the 4.5 category.
Crossover sensation Mayuko Arriola was absent, but her mom, Sadako, was there to receive her men’s 4.0 championship trophy, and John Wayne Kintaro took home runner-up honors, while Noel Manalag was presented his 3.0 title in absentia. Babu Malayil received his runner-up trophy as well.
Other singles winners include Vener Urena in the men’s 2.0, Cleofe Santos in the women’s 4.0, Vangie Espanola in the women’s 3.0 singles, and Arriola in the women’s open.
For their part, the husband-and-wife combo of Renato and Vangie Espanola topped the mixed doubles 4.5 category, while Ronnie Lacbayo and Cleofe Santos received runner-up trophies.
Doubles champions include Roy Pangelinan and Peter Loyola in the men’s open, Pangelinan and Boyet Minor in the men’s 4.5, Feel Kalen and Richard Asuncion in the 4.0, Jaime Hagos and Ed Casing in the 3.0, and Bobby Nato and Das Narayanan in the men’s 2.0.
Arriola and Young Son topped the women’s category, Vangie Espanola and Ligaya Pacunalang ruled the 4.0, and Jay El-Rahi and Karen Ramsey won the 3.0.
Ramsey, Vangie Espanola, Toshi Beltau, and Nicolas Son were also presented most improved trophies, while sportsmanship awards went to Ellen Uy, El-Rahi, and Heo.
While all surely had a good time with the variety of food, drinks, and entertainment, one player who would’ve been at the gathering was not around, and the association and its netters took time to recognize him.
One more trophy was left to be presented and all applauded and cheered when STA president Roy Pangelinan picked up the award and said the STA will present the trophy to Higgins’ family.
The Taga Tennis Tournament was recently dedicated to Bermin Higgins, an active netter who passed away, just a day before the start of the tourney.
The tournament was sponsored by Pepsi, Miller Lite, and Telesource CNMI.