MANILA — The Philippine tennis team earned two bronze medals after losing to Thailand in the semifinals of the women’s and men’s team events of the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, Saturday in Vietnam.
The women’s and men’s teams suffered a 0-2 loss in the best-of-3 competition at the Hanaka Paris Ocean Park in Tu Son city, Bac Ninh province.
A doubles match would have been played to serve as a decider if the score became 1-1.
Alex Eala, Marian Jade Capadocia, Shaira Hope Rivera, and Jenaila Rose Prulla comprise the Philippine women’s team while Francis Casey Alcantara, Jeson Patrombon, Treat Huey, Ruben Gonzales, and Eric Olivarez, Jr. form the men’s team.
According to the Lawn Tennis Association of Thailand, Patcharin Cheapchandej earned the first point for the women’s team by beating Capadocia, 6-3, 7-6(0).
Luksika Kumkhum, who lost in straight sets to Eala in the W25 Chiang Rai final last month, overcame the 16-year-old Filipino tennis sensation, 6-2, 0-6, 6-2.
On the men’s side, Yuttana Charoenphon defeated Patrombon, 7-6(4), 7-6(2), and Kasidit Samrej outlasted Alcantara, 6-0, 4-6, 6-2.
En route to the semis, the Philippines swept the opening round, 2-0, by ousting Malaysia on the women’s side and Laos on the men’s side.
Thailand, meanwhile, received a bye into both semifinals as the top-seeded team.
The Thais will face Indonesia in the men’s team final and Vietnam in the women’s team final.
“In terms of tennis, the Philippine team is strong,” Eala said in her blog for the International Tennis Federation ahead of her SEA Games debut.
“I definitely have the sense of playing for my nation and for something far bigger than just myself,” added the Rafa Nadal Academy player.
Eala is the girls’ doubles champion at the 2020 Australian Open and 2021 Roland Garros, as well as the winner of the 2021 W15 Manacor and 2022 W25 Chiang Rai.
SEA Games medalists Huey, Gonzales, and Alcantara are also coming off recent international wins.
Huey and Gonzales clinched the Savannah Challenger doubles title in the United States, and 2009 Australian Open junior boys’ doubles champion Alcantara won the M25 Cairo doubles crown in Egypt.
In the 2019 Manila Games, Alcantara and Patrombon won the SEA Games men’s doubles gold over silver medalists Huey and Gonzales.
Huey has three SEA Games gold medals: two for mixed doubles and one for the men’s team event, while Gonzales has two other silvers for men’s doubles.
Alcantara has a silver in men’s doubles and two bronze medals for men’s doubles and the men’s team event, and Patrombon has a silver in men’s doubles and a bronze in singles.
In addition, Capadocia has another bronze for the women’s team event.
The 31st SEA Games’ lawn tennis competition features seven events: women’s team, men’s team, women’s singles, men’s singles, women’s doubles, men’s doubles, and mixed doubles.
The Filipino netters will see action again on May 17 for their singles and mixed doubles matches.
The doubles events for women and men will kick off on May 20.