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MANILA, Philippines — John David Velez bucked the odds, including top seed Bruce Hurtado in the boys’ 18-and-under finals, to complete a rare three-title romp in the Pawnshop-Palawan Express Pera Padala Mlang regional tennis tournament at the Mlang Tennis Club in Cotabato last weekend.

The 14-year-old star from Davao sustained his fierce form coming off straight-set victories in his age-group and in the 16-U finals, stunning doubles partner Hurtado with his baseline game and superb recoveries to hack out a thrilling 7-6(5), 4-6, 11-9 triumph in the centerpiece event.

The Precious International School of Davao mainstay actually held off Hurtado, 6-4, 6-3, in their earlier face-off in the 16-U finals after clobbering Andrei Padao, 6-1, 6-1, for 14-U title in the Group 2 tournament sponsored by Palawan Pawnshop headed by president/CEO Bobby Castro and presented by Slazenger.

Local ace Jazzelle Madis also claimed two victories in the girls’ side, mastering doubles partner Minette Bentillo, 6-3, 6-3, in the 16-U championship and 6-1, 6-1, in the 18-U finals of the event backed by the Unified Tennis Group, composed of Cebuana Lhuillier, PPS-PEPP, Wilson, Toby’s, BMeg, Citigreen, Babolat and Tru-Flex.