PH Cuppers advance

Treat Huey and Francis Casey Alcantara outclassed Kuwait’s Abdulrahman Alawadhi and Abdulhamid Mubarak, 6-1, 6-1, 6-2, last night to help the Cebuana Lhuillier-Philippine Davis Cup team win the first round tie of the Asia Oceania Zone Group II at the Valle Verde Country Club in Pasig City.

Huey and Alcantara flaunted their superiority and vast experience against the Kuwaiti duo, earning their fourth win in as many outings as a pair while shoving the Filipino netters to the next round of the group.

The Filipinos, who took a commanding 2-0 lead on Friday following wins of Jeson Patrombon and Ruben Gonzales in singles, will face either Taiwan or Malaysia in the second round.

Taiwan holds a 2-1 lead over Malaysia at presstime.

“I’m happy that we’re one step closer to Group I. We want to finish it a strong as possible, get the tie win as fast as we can,” said Alcantara after he and Huey hardly broke a sweat during the match that saw them take a comfortable 5-0 lead in the third frame.

Huey and Alcantara further showed the Filipinos’ mastery of the Kuwaitis in the tie after Patrombon trounced Alawadhi, 6-0, 6-2, 6-1, in the first singles match and Gonzales surviving Mohammad Ghareeb, 7-6 (2), 6-2, 1-6, 6-7 (6), 5-5 (ret.).

Gonzales blew a two-set lead and was locked in a 5-5 tie in the deciding set when Ghareeb retired due to cramps.

Despite clinching the tie, the hosts would like to stamp its class on Kuwaitis in today’s reverse singles matches.

Patrombon faces Ghareeb in the first match before Gonzales tackles Alawadhi to conclude the best-of-five tie.

Their strong showing should excite team manager Jean Henri Lhuillier, who before last night’s doubles match said that the team is making significant progress with the current roster.

Lhuillier said Huey, Gonzales, Patrombon and Alcantara have matured over the past year due to the training and exposures abroad.

Lhuillier said he’s comfortable with the composition and performance of the team at the moment after undergoing several changes that include giving major roles to Patrombon and Alcantara.

“We have to. It’s their time. The changing of the guards is happening. We have to accept the task ahead and let them show that they deserve to play and be with the team,” said Lhuillier.


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