Mamiit-less PH Cuppers still favored over Pacific Oceania | Inquirer Sports

Mamiit-less PH Cuppers still favored over Pacific Oceania

/ 10:26 PM January 14, 2012

MANILA, Philippines—Even with Cecil Mamiit in the sidelines, the Philippines will be the favorite when it goes up against Pacific Oceania in their Davis Cup Group 2 tie slated Feb. 10 to 12 in Iriga City.

This was the assessment of Philippine DC administrator and Philippine Tennis Association vice president Randy Villanueva who added that Treat Huey, the world’s No. 56 in doubles, “will be the big difference” in the tie.

The tie will mark the first time the 36-year-old Mamiit won’t see action for the PH team since 2006, but the country’s long-time main man will still be around as non-playing team captain, according to Villanueva.

Also making up the team which will try to climb back to Group 1 next year are Fil-Am Ruben Gonzales, teenage hotshot Jeson Patrombon and veteran Johnny Arcilla.

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“It’s their big chance to shine and now that Cecil is no longer around, they (players) will have the playing time they need,” added Villanueva, who said the Philta board felt the need to make the major adjustment after the country lost all three ties and got demoted from Group 1 last year.

Mamiit, who didn’t return messages on his Facebook page, has played for the DC team since 2006 when the Philippines was in Group 3. He steered the country back to Group 1 and continued playing two years after retiring from the men’s circuit.

“If Treat is not playing, we’ll be on equal footing with Pacific Oceania,” said Villanueva of the 26-year-old Huey, who is ranked 1,085 in singles and will be the top player for the Philippines. Huey will also play doubles with Gonzales.

Pacific Oceania is a pool of players from associate islands in Oceania excluding Australia and New Zealand. It has yet to play in Group 1 and beat Iran, 4-1, last year to stay in Group 2.

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Among Pacific Oceania’s players are 29-year-old West Nott from Marshall Islands, who won two rubbers against Iran, 23-year-old Daniel Llareas and 25-year-old Michael Leong, the only-world ranked player in the team at 1,797, who hails from Solomon Islands.

A powerhouse among Group 2 teams, but a lightweight in Group 1, the Philippines is ranked 41st in Davis Cup. It last played in Group 2 in 2009 when it swept Hong Kong, Pakistan and New Zealand to get back to Group 1.

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But it barely managed to stay in the elite group, needing a come-from-behind decision over South Korea in the relegation tie after losing to Japan and Chinese Taipei. Last year, the country lost to New Zealand, Chinese Taipei and Japan, the last two ties held in Lapu Lapu City in Cebu.

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TAGS: Cecil Mamiit, Davis Cup, JESON PATROMBON, Ruben Gonzales, Sports, Tennis, Treat Huey

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