PHL tennis backers form new group

TO help improve the current state of Philippine tennis, the Unified Tennis Philippines (UTP)—a newly founded organization led by the biggest tennis supporters in the country, such as Cebuana Lhuillier and Palawan Pawnshop—has announced an incentive program for budding Filipino tennis superstars. By end of 2017, a total of 24 junior tennis players—top 4 boys and top 4 girls from each age category: under 14, under 16, and under 18 categories--will be selected to represent the Philippines in international tournaments next year based on the UTP national ranking system. “This incentive program is part of UTP’s continuous campaign to support tennis in the Philippines and help Philippine-based tennis players get world-class training and experience so that we may achieve our ultimate goal of developing tennis players that would excel in worldwide rankings. We see a lot of potential in our tennis players and we hope that through this initiative, they will have renewed motivation and inspiration to do better and improve their skills even more,” UTP founding member and Cebuana Lhuillier president and CEO Jean Henri Lhuillier said. Under 14 national teams will get to play at least one Asian Tennis Federation Junior tournament in Southeast Asia, while Under 16 and Under 18 national team members will be sent to at least one International Tennis Federation group 5 junior tournament in Southeast Asia. Starting 2017, UTP has been very active in organizing more than 100 tournaments nationwide and supporting tennis clinics of former top players such as Alex Marcial, Rod Rafael, among others. (PR)