Huey, Alcantara secure doubles

PH Davis Cuppers cut Kiwis’ lead

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LAPU LAPU CITY—Treat Huey and Francis Casey Alcantara displayed world-class forms in outclassing Artem Sitak and Marcus Daniell of New Zealand to keep the Cebuana Lhuillier-Philippine team alive late Saturday at Plantation Bay Resort and Spa here.

Huey, fresh from a milestone quarterfinal stint in the US Open, and Alcantara, the 2009 Australian Open junior double champ, never encountered trouble in fashioning out a 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 victory in the rain-delayed match of the Davis Cup Asia Oceania Group 2 final tie.

Play was halted—with the Philippines up by a set and the score tied at 3-3 in the second—by more than two hours because of torrential rains that soaked the clay courts. Officials poured gasoline on the playing court and lit it up to dry it fast but game could resume only about 10 p.m.

“We’re still in the game,” said PH non-playing captain Roland Kraut. “Now we have a chance to display our winning attitude and go for the tie in the reverse singles.”

Ruben Gonzales was facing NZ’s top player Jose Statham in the first reverse singles with  Johnny Arcilla lined up against  Michael Venus in the final match of the tie.

The Philippines has been in the same spot before, losing both opening singles before scoring a come-from-behind triumph by winning the last three matches over host Korea in 2010.

With the tie on the line, the Philippine pair buckled down to work early and broke Sitak’s already shaky serve to get ahead, 3-1, in the first set.

Huey later dropped his serve as the Kiwis tied it at 3-3 but he broke Daniell and then held serve to close the set out.

New Zealand tried to utilize its personnel and called in Sitak to replace  original doubles partner Michael Venus who won a grueling five-setter over Ruben Gonzales Friday.

The Filipinos broke Sitak once again to storm to a 3-1 lead in the second set through Alcantara’s well-angled shots as a light drizzle fell on this island resort city.

As in the first set, New Zealand came back to forge a 3-3 deadlock and was  trying to regain momentum on its serve, when the rains fell hard and halted play.

The event is sponsored by Cebuana Lhuillier, Plantation Bay, Jober Lights, Smart, Yonex, Philippine Sports Commission and Philippine Daily Inquirer.

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