PH tennis will be armed to the teeth
The Philippines will be bringing back tennis’ big guns for the Southeast Asian Games late next month as the sport aims to contribute to the country’s ambitious bid to claim the overall title for the second time.
The Philippine Tennis Association said recently that Fil-Americans Treat Huey and Ruben Gonzales have volunteered to suit up for the country which is eyeing a comeback in the sport after being shut-out in Kuala Lumpur two years ago.
“We are trying to put up best possible team and fortunately, these players are willing,” said national head coach Chris Cuarto. “It’s like setting aside everything, politics, for the sake of the country.”
Team Philippines, with the flamboyant Cecil Mamiit leading the way, endeared itself to the home crowd with Mamiit contributing three gold medals to the 112 the country hauled in winning the overall title.
Huey and Gonzales took leaves in the previous Davis Cup campaigns following a fallout with Philta administration two years ago.
Both are funded by sports patron Jean Henri Lhuillier, who broke ties with current Philta administration headed by Antonio Cablitas.
But while Huey stopped playing for the country in both the SEA Games and the Davis Cup, Gonzales remained in the national team and saw action in the 2017 SEAG.
Gonzales and Francis Casey Alcantara bagged silver in the men’s doubles, while Clarice Patrimonio was runner-up in women’s singles in Malaysia.
Cuarto is predicting at least two gold medals in the five-event competition on Dec. 1-7 at Rizal Memorial Tennis Center.
The last two times the country hosted the biennial games, the Philippines won three golds each although there were seven events back then, including the team competitions.
Now Cuarto is eyeing victories in men’s doubles and mixed doubles where Huey and Denise Dy —2015 SEAG champ—are expected to be fielded in.
Joining Huey, Gonzales and Dy in the national roster are Alcantara, Jeson Patrombon, AJ Lim, Marian Capadocia, Khim Iglupas and Shaira Rivera and Clarice Patrimonio.
Mamiit powered the national bid in 2005, winning three gold medals including men’s singles, mixed doubles with Riza Zalameda, and men’s team.
Further back, Felix Barrientos steered the country in a three-gold performance in the 1991 edition. He captured the men’s singles and doubles with Roland So and mixed doubles with Jennifer Saberon.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.