MARCH 30, 2009
(STAR) Francis Casey Alcantara serves while teammate Daniel Berta of Sweden prepares for action in their game against Sam Barry of Ireland and Nas Sebastian Lavie of New Zealand in the semifinals. Jun Mendoza MANILA, Philippines - Francis Casey Alcantara, foiled in his bid in the singles, teamed up with Swede Daniel Berta to beat Irish Sam Barry and Kiwi Sebastian Lavie, 6-1, 6-2, and barge into the finals of the 20th Mitsubishi ITF Juniors Championships at the Rizal Tennis Center yesterday.

The win set the second seeded pair of Alcantara, 17, and Berta against the winner of the other semis duel between No. 1 Huang Liang Chi of Chinese Taipei-Dominik Schulz of Germany and No. 4 Ben-Riki McClachlan.

The Cagayan de Oro City native teamed up with Chinese Taipei’s Hiseh Cheng Peng in ruling the Australian Juniors Open last January and then Berta in last week’s Grade 1 meet in Malaysia.

Alcantara also finished second in a Grade 1 event in Thailand two weeks ago with Huang as teammate.

Meanwhile, seventh seed Polina Leykina of Russia shocked top pick Timea Babos of Hungary, 6-2, 7-5, to reach the ladies singles final.

Leykina disputes the title with compatriot No. 13 Ekaterina Nikitina, who booted out unseeded Tamara Curovic of Serbia, 7-5, 6-2.

Berta, the boys’ singles No. 6, also upended No. 3 Schulz, 6-3, 6-3, to close in on a possible tennis double.

The talented Swede takes on No. 5 Riki McLachlan of New Zealand, a round-of-16 finisher in the Australian Juniors Open who trounced Alcantara conqueror Matteo Civarolo of Italy, 7-5, 7-5. – Joey Villar

Run for a child SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin Henson Updated March 29, 2009 12:00 AM


MANILA- Jesuit priest Fr. Pierre Tritz is an inspiration to us all. He is now 95, has lived in the Philippines for nearly 60 years and continues to serve as chaplain at the Hospital of the Infant Jesus in Laong Laan, Sampaloc.

In 1974, Fr. Tritz founded the Educational Research and Development Assistance (ERDA) Foundation to provide scholarships for less fortunate children. Moved by the plight of poor Filipino children unable to finish their education because of economic difficulties, Fr. Tritz made it his life-long mission to give hope to underprivileged kids for a better life by offering scholarships.

Today, ERDA has over 30,000 scholars enrolled in different levels of education all over the country. Its programs enlist school dropouts, child scavengers, street children, out of school youth, child laborers, children in conflict with the law, children of persons afflicted by leprosy and children of indigenous people. ERDA’s scholarships are available from pre-school up to college. Since its inception, ERDA has come to the aid of over 300,000 indigent children.

“To allow a child to go to school is to give him hope,” said Fr. Tritz in explaining his mission.

Fr. Tritz, who was a psychology professor and taught at Ateneo, FEU and Araneta University, is now slowed down by an accidental fall a few years ago and walks with a cane. But his spirit is as strong as ever. In fact, Fr. Tritz still celebrates Mass everyday and does his nightly rounds at the 500-bed Hospital of the Infant Jesus where he has been the chaplain for over 30 years.

The Gotianun family of Filinvest has supported Fr. Tritz’ mission since ERDA was established.

“We knew several Jesuit priests through Xavier School,” said Filinvest Land chairman Mercedes Gotianun. “Our family was the first to support ERDA in 1974 and we’ve been friends with Fr. Tritz since.”

In 2005, the Filinvest Group organized a fun-run where the Gotianuns pledged to put one poor child to school for every finisher. It was the family’s way of getting the Filinvest employees involved in a worthy cause. The fun-run raised over P3 million for ERDA.

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Yesterday morning, the Filinvest Group staged another fun-run and the Gotianuns came in full force to rally 1,236 runners in competing the two-kilometer route in Alabang. The runners included David’s Salon owner David Charlton and his team of hair stylists.

Fr. Tritz was around to witness the event, called “Run For A Child,” as guest of honor.

“We are all aware that Filinvest is dedicated not just to building homes but also making dreams come true,” said Filinvest Development Corp. chairman Jonathan Gotianun. “We believe that good education is necessary and is the key to making dreams come true. It is a sad fact that each year, more than 400,000 children drop out of grade school and high school simply because they cannot afford to continue. In fact, many of these kids drop out as early as Grade 1 or 2. Tragically, out of 100 Filipino students entering Grade 1, only about 14 will reach college.”

Filinvest Development Corp. chairman emeritus Andrew Gotianun Sr. was all smiles as employees from Filinvest Land, Filinvest Alabang, Festival Supermall, the Palms Country Club, East West Bank and Pacific Sugar Holdings woke up early to take their spots in the starting line at 7 a.m. It was a display of unflinching support for the Gotianun family’s partnership with ERDA.

“This is a partnership we intend to nurture in the years to come,” said Jonathan Gotianun. “We know that keeping these children in school will give them at least a fighting chance to break out of the cycle of poverty. We share in ERDA’s vision of a nation where all children are given educational opportunities that will adequately prepare them for life.”

Like in the first fun-run, the Filinvest Group pledged to allocate one scholarship for every finisher and the total bill ran up to P4,086,000. It was later announced that Andrew Gotianun Sr. upped the amount to P5 million as the Filinvest Group’s contribution to ERDA.

* * *

A highlight of the event was ERDA scholar Leah Temporosa’s talk expressing her gratitude for the opportunity to go to school. Temporosa, 15, is one of three children whose father works as a butcher. She is now a junior high school student at Muntinlupa and has been an ERDA beneficiary since her freshman year.

I witnessed the event as co-host with 1984 Los Angeles Olympian Christine Jacob and we were both overwhelmed by the Filinvest Group’s and the Gotianun family’s dedication to provide poor children access to education.

Making a difference in other people’s lives means also making a difference in one’s own life. The experience of volunteering to participate in “Run For A Child” for the Filinvest Group to pledge a scholarship in exchange for crossing the finish line is food for the soul. Completing the route is symbolic of a poor child graduating from school to prepare for life ahead – a reflection of Fr. Tritz’ dream come true.

Postscript. Fr. Tritz was born in Bouzonville, France, in 1914 and spent 12 years as a missionary in China before moving to the Philippines in 1950. He took up theology and psychology in universities in France and Belgium. In 1974, Fr. Tritz gave up his French citizenship to become a naturalized Filipino. Two years ago, Fr. Tritz visited France and Germany at the age of 93. Most of the patients at the Hospital of the Infant Jesus where he is chaplain are kids so Fr. Tritz is right at home ministering to the children...Christine Jacob is now passionately into playing tennis. She gave birth to her fifth child, a boy Jaime, only two months ago. Her husband Paco Sandejas and their oldest child, eight-year-old Paolo, completed the fun-run in Alabang yesterday morning...Interment of my mother-in-law Carmencita Fargas Genato’s remains will follow the 10 a.m. Mass in the Lower Chapel of St. James the Great Parish, Ayala Alabang Village, this morning...For details on ERDA, please call tel. No. 732-4327 or 732-3198 or email You may donate to ERDA by contributing P5, P15, P25, P50 or P100 every 20 days through text.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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