MANILA, Philippines -- The head of the Philippine Tennis Association (PHILTA) is confident that he can resolve the issues hounding the federation, including its suspension by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) that has become a major cause of concern for the country's players.
Atty. Antonio Cablitas made it clear that he can "solve these problems," and that he has been trying to work them out even before the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the globe.
"Governance and representation, I can solve these problems. More than anybody else I am concerned about that," said Cablitas, who made his maiden at the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday, together with PHILTA vice president Martin Misa.
PHILTA has been suspended by the ITF for two years because of the issues of "governance and representation," but Cablitas believes that the reason behind their suspension is "flawed."
Primarily, he did not like the way a rival group led by some former PHILTA officials had worked in a "clandestine manner that led to our suspension by the ITF so much so that we became isolated."
While Cablitas did not name names, it is on record that former PHILTA head Lito Villanueva his late son, Randy Villanueva, and businessman-sportsman Jean Henri Lhuillier, all PHILTA board members, had questioned Cablitas' election in 2017.
The Villanuevas and Lhuillier were among those who formed a rival group, the United Tennis Philippines, which was accredited with the Philippine Sports Commission, even as PHILTA came under fire from the PSC shortly after his election, according to Cablitas.
"We are willing to co-exist with others as long as they do not destroy PHILTA. This is where we draw the line," he stressed.
On the organizational level, both PHILTA officials disclosed that the association now has 12 "active" regional directors all over the country and intends to increase them to 15 to oversee the growth of lawn tennis in the countryside.
Misa also made it clear that PHILTA was "very busy" and had about 70 tournaments annually before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. However, they "were not announcing" these endeavors.
"Maybe I should be active on social media to promote them," he admitted.
He also advised the country's tennis players to "stay out of the PHILTA politics." "Just stick to what you're doing, and train hard for next year," he added.
Besides organizing tournaments, Misa said that the association was also active in organizing workshops for coaches and technical officials in the countryside, adding that it was set to sign an agreement with the Department of Education for physical education teachers to undergo workshops to teach tennis the right way to their students.
He was likewise grateful that PHILTA remained recognized by the Philippine Olympic Committee under reelected POC president Bambol Tolentino, and which could help the local tennis body have its suspension lifted by the ITF.
FROM THE ARCHIVES: