MANILA — The Philippines will have to bear the crowd, which is expected to cheer for Indonesia, in the first round of the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Zone Group II tie scheduled at the Gelora Bung Karno Tennis Stadium Complex in Jakarta on February 3-4.
Francis Casey Alcantara, Jeson Patrombon, Albert “AJ” Lim Jr., John Bryan Otico, and Jurence Mendoza make up the Philippine team, with Cris Cuarto as on-playing captain.
Filipino-Americans Treat Huey and Ruben Gonzales are skipping the Davis Cup competition. Both are playing in the men’s circuit.
Alcantara and Lim have competed in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Alcantara won the doubles silver medal with Gonzales.
Otico, 18, is the reigning Philippine Columbian Association Open men’s champion while Mendoza is an athletic scholar at the Oklahoma State University (OSU), where he is a senior management student.
“I feel excited and honored to have the opportunity to represent my country once again,” said Mendoza in an online interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Wednesday.
The 21-year-old Mendoza was tapped by the Philippine Tennis Association to boost the team’s chances of improving its 6-5 win-loss record over Indonesia.
“I’m expecting to play with Alcantara in the doubles,” said Mendoza, who finished his freshman year at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.
“Although we didn’t have the time to practice together as a team, I know all of the members are match-ready because they all had their separate preparations for the tie. We are going to Indonesia expecting to win,” said Mendoza, who joined the OSU Cowboys in 2014. He posted the third most doubles wins of any OSU player in the 2015-2016 season.
“The team is ready to go and expect us to leave it all out in the court to get the win for our country,” assured Mendoza, one of three children of Edith, a financial advisor, and Zosimo, a lawyer.
Lim, who debuted in the Davis Cup team last year, reached a career-high No. 12 in the world juniors rankings in 2016.
“It always feels great to represent the country and I am looking forward to a great experience and competition here,” said the 17-year-old Lim, who arrived in Jakarta on Wednesday.
“We can only assure that we are going to give our very best and everything just to get the win for the country,” said Lim, who powered the University of the East team to the University Athletic Association of the Philippines title last year.
Indonesia is represented by Muhammad Rifqi Fitriadi, David Agung Susanto, Ignatius Anthony Susanto, Hustin Barki, and Muhammad Althaf Dhaifullahm, with Febi Widhiyanto as team captain.
The Davis Cup will implement the two-day and best-of-three format this year, starting with the Zone Group I and II ties. The new format will see two singles matches played on the first day and the doubles match followed by the two reverse singles matches on the next day.
The increase of the size of the teams from four to five players allows countries to have more flexibility in team selection.