The longest-running junior tennis tournament in Visayas and Mindanao—the JRG Gullas Tennis Cup, kicks off its annual contest today with more than 150 participants coming from around the country seeing action.
The tennisfest will have two venues—the girls division will be played at the CitiGreen Tennis Resort in barangay Punta Princesa, Cebu City while the boys division will be played at the Alta Vista Golf and Country Club in the hills of barangay Pardo, Cebu City.
John Pages, one of the organizers of the event, said that the participants will appreciate the indoor tennis court venues as it is summer and the scorching heat of the sun nowadays may be too much to bear.
The tournament features a singles and doubles event. The singles will have 10 Under Mix, 12 Under Boys and Girls, 14 under Boys and Girls, 16 Under Boys and Girls and the 18 Under Boys and Girls.
Coach Fritz Tabura, also one of the organizers of the event, said that this year’s Gullas Tennis Cup will be anybody’s game because most of the defending champions are training for the upcoming Palarong Pambansa.
The first Gullas Tennis Cup was held in 1995 and was founded on Jose R. “Dodong” Gullas’ (JRG) passion for sports.
Gullas said that he got interested first in basketball but later on shifted to tennis. The reason for the shift was that in tennis, there is a chance that local players can compete in international tournaments because there is no physical requirement such as height.
One of the products of the Gullas netfest is Francis “Casey” Alcantara, who is now a member of the Philippine Davis Cup team.
Others are Cebu’s top women netters in Sally Mae Siso and Hannah Espinosa. Since both have graduated from junior tennis tournaments, they opted to give back by helping organizing the event.
“I am very grateful for this event because through the years it has helped exposed Cebuano young netters to a tournament,” said Siso, adding that it also allowed them to meet netters from other places.
Espinosa, for her part, said she is very grateful that Gullas has continued to support the event after all these years. The tournament is now on its 20th year.
One of the tournament’s offerings that Espinosa says she never experienced in other tournaments is the fellowship night. Gullas hosts dinner not only for players but for the coaches and parents as well to forge camaraderie.
This year, the fellowship night will be held tomorrow (Thursday) wherein Gullas will present a letter which he said he wrote from his heart addressed to the young athletes. In the letter, he is asking the young participants for three things—first is to thank the Lord for the skills that they have been given and thank their parents for the support, secondly, Gullas is asking them to study well and third, he is urging them not to go into drugs.
Gullas is also asking the young participants to include him in their prayers that he may be blessed with good health and longer life so that he can continue supporting the Gullas Tennis Cup.