KUALA LUMPUR — The Philippine tennis squad kicks off its campaign in the 29th Southeast Asian Games on Monday at the National Tennis Centre Sports Complex in Jalan Duta.
Francis Casey Alcantara and Jeson Patrombon will compete in the men’s singles at noon. The two are also competing in the doubles category at 4 p.m.
Playing in the women’s singles at 10 a.m. are Filipino-German Katharina Lehnert and Anna Clarice Patrimonio. They are also scheduled to compete in the doubles event at 4 p.m. along with Filipino-American Denise Dy and Khim Iglupas.
Men’s coach Cris Cuarto said the Philippines is eyeing to win two golds despite missing the services of Filipino-American Treat Huey.
“We’re looking at two golds,” said Cuarto in an interview on Sunday. He said the golds may come from the women’s singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles events.
Two years ago in Singapore, the Philippines won the mixed doubles gold courtesy of Huey and Dy. It was the pair’s second consecutive gold medal after claiming victory in the 2013 edition in Myanmar.
Dy will be paired with Filipino-American Ruben Gonzales, who has played for the Philippine Davis Cup team.
“It is unfortunate that Treat cannot play. But we have Ruben, who is also a very talented player,” said Cuarto, a former member of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tennis champion San Beda College.
Top junior Alberto Lim Jr. is the newest member of the men’s team while the women’s team coached by Czarina Arevalo is composed of the same players who saw action in Singapore.
Aside from the gold in mixed doubles, the Philippines also won three silvers and four bronzes in 2015.
The silver medals came from the men’s doubles (Gonzales and Patrombon), women’s doubles (Dy and Lehnert) and the women’s team of Dy, Iglupas, Lehnert and Patrimonio. The bronze winners were Gonzales, Patrombon, Alcantara and Huey (men’s team); Alcantara and Huey (men’s doubles; Lehnert (women’s singles) and Patrombon (men’s singles).
Alcantara has improved his world’s doubles rankings to No. 369 after winning four doubles titles this year. He played 10 weeks in a row to prepare for the the SEA Games.
“We expect a strong challenge from Thailand and Indonesia,” said Alcantara of Cagayan de Oro City.