PH Cuppers seal win versus Pakistani foes | Inquirer Sports

PH Cuppers seal win versus Pakistani foes

The Cebuana Lhuillier-Philippine Davis Cup team just took another big step toward Group 1.

With Treat Huey and Ruben Gonzales playing seamlessly to destroy Pakistan’s Aqeel Khan and Jalil Khan, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2, the Filipinos practically clinched their Group 2 semifinal tie with a 3-0 lead at the Philippine Columbian Association clay-shell courts yesterday .

The victory, coupled with the twin wins in the opening rubbers, lifted the Philippines to the Asia Oceania final round against either Indonesia or Thailand which are still at each other’s throat, 1-1, at press time. The promotional tie will be an away tie in September.


“Without (Pakistan top player Aisam) Qureshi, we really intended to take the tie 3-0,” said nonplaying captain Roland Kraut. “We needed convincing wins like this as all of this is preparation for the next tie.”


Qureshi, the world’s No. 10 doubles player and 2010 US Open finalist, didn’t join the team though he was listed in the Davis Cup website and even obtained a visa. His teammates said the 32-year-old from Lahore who steered them to a 3-2 win over Lebanon this year was nursing an injured knee.

It was the third straight tie that Qureshi skipped, giving the host substantial advantage in manpower and talent. The Philippines will improve its record against Pakistan to 5-1 including the last four match-ups.

“Now we want to win it all and finish the tie at 5-0,” added Kraut who was on his maiden duty as PH team skipper. He will field the returning Francis Casey Alcantara and Johnny Arcilla in today’s nonbearing reverse rubbers against Aqeel Khan and Yasir Khan, respectively.

Arcilla spearheaded the campaign last Friday with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 win over Aqeel in the opening singles where he showcased his expertise over the soft and slippery surface. Huey made it 2-0 later on with a 6-1, 6-0, 6-3 triumph over Yasir Khan.

Huey provided maturity, while Gonzales took care of power in the two-hour demolition. It didn’t help that Pakistan committed a rash of errors early in the match which the Filipinos gamely pounced upon with Gonzales launching booming serves and Huey excellent volley drops and smashes.

“His serves were incredible,” said Huey of his partner whom the team picked to play in the doubles match in favor of US NCAA division 1 campaigner Alcantara.


Alcantara, the 2009 Australian Open junior doubles champion who is now taking up management at Fresno State, made another tour of duty for the Philippines in the absence of injured Jeson Patrombon. Patrombon watched the matches from the sidelines.

This early, there are talks to put Alcantara and former archrival Patrombon in the team going for the promotional tie with Huey once again as squad leader.

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“We played Indonesia and Thailand in the Asian Games and the Southeast Asian Games and both teams will be very tough,” said Huey who will be rushing back to the United States as he will play an ATP event in Houston on Tuesday.

TAGS: Aqeel Khan, Cebuana Lhuillier-Philippine Davis Cup, Ruben Gonzales, Tennis, Treat Huey

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