Philippine tennis gets shot in the arm

Manila Standard Today
June 12, 2012

SANS any fanfare, the Philippine Tennis Academy has been working quietly behind the scenes with the primary objective of selecting young tennis talents to enable them to reach the Top 10 in the International Tennis Federation junior rankings.

Organized last year by a group of long-time tennis lovers and patrons, led be sportsman-businessman Jean Henri Lhuillier, Oscar Hilado, Romme Chan and Hanky Lee, the group formally got together August 2011 and formed the PTA with the aim of not only identifying and training talents, but providing the opportunity to under-privileged boys and girls in the countryside to see their skills and help them out of poverty as well.

Seeing the chance to help, former national tennis players Felix Barrientos and Raymond Suarez are also pitching in to share their international tennis experience with the young PTA talents.

The first group of trainees, composed of Roxanne Resma from Cagayan de Oro, Anthony Craig Pantino from Cebu, Khim Iglupas from Iligan City and Tami Nguyen from Alabang, Muntinlupa, was formed last year and within a short time, these young tennis hopefuls have already shown what they san be in the future.

Resma is ranked no. 1 in the 16-and-under and has represented the country in the Junior Federation Cup in Australia.

Pantino at 11, is already dominating the 14-and-under group and plays already in the 16-and-under, while Nguyen was a semifinalist in the PCA Open and has won a scholarship to the Uiversity of San Diego. Iglupas is currently the country’s best in the 14-and-under girls.

“Individually, we have been sponsoring players in the past and we felt it was time to pool our resources together with Nino Alcantara as our first project. We believe Filipinos are talented tennis players especially at their younger ages, but when they get older, nawawala na competitiveness. That is why we will start them young and look for college scholarships for them in America,” said Chan, who tapped Andy Maglipon as project director.

Among the colleges are Fresno State University and Sta. Clara University both in California.

To keep the identification program going, the PTA has already created satellite centers to serve as sources of fresh talents with four satellite centers in Davao, Cagayan de Oro, La Carlota, and Bais, already on the live with Subic, Cebu and Palawan In the pipeline.

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