Wins buoy PH aces as SEA Games approaches

Treat Huey is eyeing two doubles teams for the SEA Games; one with Ruben Gonzales in men’s and another with the celebrated Alex Eala in mixed. —Sherwin Vardeleon

Filipino tennis stars Ruben Gonzales, Treat Huey and Francis Casey Alcantara will fly into the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games on the wings of victory after notching morale-boosting wins in their professional campaigns recently.

Over the weekend, Huey and Gonzales ruled the M80 Savannah Challenger in Georgia, while Alcantara partnered with Northern Marianas Islands’ Colin Sinclair to dominate the M25 Cairo tilt.

“We are not sure about the teams we are playing against,” Gonzales said on Tuesday. “So we will just focus on ourselves and get as ready as possible. I can’t wait to represent the country.”

Gonzales and Huey bagged the silver during the 2019 SEA Games in an all-Filipino men’s doubles finals won by Alcantara and Jeson Patrombon.

“I’m very excited and ready at the same time,” said Alcantara. “I can’t say much about my partner (Patrombon) but he has been winning all the local tournaments so I guess he is ready too.”

It’s still not clear who among them will play in men’s singles but the country will be heavily stacked in doubles including mixed doubles where Huey is expected to pair with 16-year-old hotshot Alex Eala.

Eala herself was making great strides in international stage after winning the W25 in Chiang Rai in Thailand last month.

With two International Tennis Federation titles under her belt, Eala will be the country’s best bet in women’s singles having been exposed in top-tier competitions through the Rafael Nadal Academy, where she is a scholar.

Gonzales and Huey defeated Chinese Taipei’s Wu Tung-lin and China’s Zhang ZhiZhen, 7-6 (3), 6-4, in the finals. The fourth seeds stunned second-seeded Americans Robert Galloway and Jackson Withrow, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 10-7, in the semifinals.

“It was an awesome week. [Treat] has always been a great friend and to win a tournament with him was an amazing experience,” said Gonzales.

The 30-year-old Alcantara said he won’t let the pressure of retaining the gold medal affect him.

“We will probably play like we are the underdogs again. So even though we are the defending champions it will be like there’s nothing to lose,” said Alcantara, who partnered with Sinclair in beating Denis Klok and Ilya Rudiukov, 6-3, 6-3, for the title in Egypt. INQ

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