Ryan Pangilinan, a sophomore at Mainland Regional High School, is the next in a line of outstanding tennis players the Pangilinan family has produced. Older brothers Van Homer and Carlo combined to win seven Cape-Atlantic League singles titles during their illustrious careers, and Carlo was a South Jersey champion as a senior. Ryan is on his way to establishing himself as a quality player on the South Jersey boys tennis scene, as is evidenced by his undefeated record so far this year at second singles for the Mustangs. On Friday, following a victory against Ocean City, Glory Days publisher Dave O’Sullivan caught up with the soft-spoken Ryan, a 15-year-old Somers Point resident who usually lets his racquet do most of the talking.
Sully: How do you feel like your season is going?
Pangilinan: I think it’s going pretty well. I’m undefeated so far.
Sully: What are your expectations coming up next week in the CAL tournament?
Pangilinan: I’m hoping for at least a top-four finish, but who knows? I have a tough draw.
Sully: Do you get mad when people call them sneakers instead of tennis shoes?
Sully: Who is your favorite professional tennis player?
Pangilinan: I really don’t have a favorite, but I love to watch the top players like (Novak) Djokovic, (Rafael) Nadal, (Roger) Federer, (Andy) Murray.
Sully: What’s the best thing about Mainland Regional High School?
Pangilinan: Extended lunch. And we have a lot of good clubs and classes.
Sully: What are you looking forward to most this summer? Any big plans?
Pangilinan: Play tennis, that’s one, and we might go on a cruise.
Sully: What kind of music are you into? Is there anything in particular that gets you pumped up before a match?
Pangilinan: Rock music, and I like electronic dance music.
Sully: Your brothers were very good at tennis. Does that put any pressure on you?
Pangilinan: Well, a little bit. I want to try to be the best that I can be and hopefully reach their level. I try not to think about it too much.
Sully: What’s the hardest thing about tennis that the average fan might not really understand?
Pangilinan: Fans might not realize how physically demanding the sport can be.
Sully: Do you have any certain goals that you want to meet by the time you graduate?
Pangilinan: I’m hoping I can help bring the team at least the South Jersey Group IV title.
Sully: What is your favorite food?
Pangilinan: Fried chicken. Oh, and cheeseburgers.
Sully: What’s something you’ll never eat?
Pangilinan: Seafood. I just don’t like it.
Sully: What’s your record for number of text messages in a month?
Pangilinan: Um, I don’t know. It’s a lot.