Thanks to Jay Montecillo, who’s based in Modesto, California, I got to speak to one of the most promising young athletes in Cebu. His sport is the game of Roger Federer and, at only a dozen years old, he’s won dozens of local, national and, yes, US-based tournaments.
Vince Marc Tabotabo. You’ve read his name on these back pages before. Nicknamed “Mac-Mac,” he’s been in America for the past two months.
“Kumusta?” I asked when we spoke last week.
“OK ra,” the shy 12-year-old tennis phenom hushed.
Together with his father/coach Titus Tabotabo, Mac-Mac has got Californians interested. For here’s a small youngster with the complexion unlike most of his white, towering tall junior American players. Here’s an example: Just last Sept. 7 in Auburn, California, Mac-Mac not only won the Boys 12-and-under singles title, but, just as well, the Doubles crown. In the quarterfinals, he beat Bobby Fretz, 6-3, 6-0; in the semis, the third-seeded Tabotabo faced the No.1 seed, Jacob Zetlin. The top-seed won the first set (6-3) before the Tuburan, Cebu native avenged to win the next two sets, 6-4, 6-2. In the finals, it was a breeze: a 6-1, 6-4 win over Scott Putty. Not contented, he teamed up with Fil-Am Winston Limhengco to win the finals, 8-2.
And that’s just one tournament. Here are five more: Freemont Junior Open (from July 21 to 25), the Foothills, Auburn event (August 2 to 3); the Natomas Racquet Club Junior Open in the city where Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger holds office (Sacramento) from August 15 to 17; the Modesto Summer Junior Open from Aug. 22 to 24 where Mac-Mac reached the finals (his only loss so far!); and, finally, the 2008 Stockton Labor Day Junior Open (Stockton, CA) from August 30 to Sept. 1.
Jay Montecillo, whose father Woodrow swings backhands at the Sancase Tennis Club in Mabolo, e-mailed me two weeks ago to report the fabulous news about Mac-Mac Tabotabo. Days after we exchanged notes, Jay called from California. Next thing I knew, Jay put me on hold while he called Titus Tabotabo and we engaged in minutes of a three-way conference call: Jay, Titus and myself.
Titus revealed his plans to have Mac-Mac join more events in California. He also credits the help of Cebu Vice-Governor Greg Sanchez, Nike sporting goods, and an anonymous donor in the US with his America trip.
Hi, for news and updates about Macmac’s joined tournaments in the US please visit http://www.squidoo.com/vincemarctabotabo