Francis Casey Alcantara will play skipper for the Philippines.
By Kristoffer Ed Bellen
MANILA--Following the announcement of the Philippine Tennis Association (PHILTA) on the absence of Treat Huey and Reuben Gonzales, the country’s top player Francis Casey Alcantara is now anticipated to spearhead the Philippine Davis Cup team as they are set to clash against Indonesia at the first tie of the Asia Oceania Zone Group II at the Gelora Bung Karo Tennis Stadium Complex in Jakarta on Feb. 3-4.
Multiple reports have confirmed that the country will miss the services of doubles experts and veterans Huey and Gonzales due to financial constraints after PHILTA’s failure to return the money that they have advanced in playing for the country in their previous competitions including an outstanding request of reimbursement of at least US$2,000 and US$10,000 from Huey and Gonzales, respectively.
PHILTA’s secretary-general Romeo Magat confirmed the news three weeks before the official announcement of this year’s Davis Cup roster after he cited in a report published by Bandera earlier this month that the management are eyeing to deliver a mixture of fresh and seasoned talents in order to solidify the country’s campaign to regain its Group I status since being relegated to Group II in 2012.
“Isasabak natin ang mga bata para madagdagan ang ekspiriyensa,” Magat said on the possible lineup of the Philippines that will feature the country’s top talents including AJ Lim, Jeson Patrombon, PJ Tierro, Jurence Mendoza, 2017 PCA Open winner John Byan Otico, and Francis Casey Alcantara, who confirmed his inclusion in the lineup via an online interview with Dugout Philippines.
Alcantara currently holds an impressive winning record across 11 ties in seven years of playing for the Philippines with a 6-4 card at the singles event and an undefeated stint in doubles, 5-0, making the 25-year old tennis hotshot as the favored captain for this year’s Philippine Davis Cup team.
“For sure, it would be weird and different this time because I was always the youngest in the team, but now I am the eldest,” Alcantara said when asked about what he thinks will be the biggest challenging entering the match against their Southeast Asian rivals.
“We will miss their leadership of course but I will try my best to be the ‘kuya’ in the team.
“Also, for the doubles, it would be harder for us but we will [still] try our best to give them a good fight,” he added.
For the meantime, Alcantara is currently training at Melbourne, Australia along with Huey and several other professional doubles players that are competing in the Australian Open before he finally heads back home tomorrow to continue practice.
“I’m just been training really hard and staying healthy for the moment,” he shared.
It is the second straight tie, however, that the Philippines will miss the services of Huey and Gonzales after the two of them anchored the country to a dominant 4-1 victory over Indonesia at the first round last year before being out against Thailand in the second round.
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