MANILA, Philippines – Ruben Gonzales finally won his first Southeast Asian Games gold medal as he and Treat Huey overpowered defending men’s doubles champion Francis Casey Alcantara and Jeson Patrombon, 6-1, 6-4, in the lawn tennis final on Saturday, May 21, at the Hanaka Tu Son Bac Ninh in Bac Ninh, Vietnam.
Gonzales, silver medalist in the last three editions of the men’s doubles competition, and Huey finally exacted revenge on Alcantara and Patrombon in the rematch of the 2019 all-Filipino SEA Games finale in Manila.
“It was great to have the Philippine team in the finals for the sure gold, just like three years ago,” said Huey.
“Today we played really well, Ruben and I came out strong and with a lot of energy and from the first point on, and we’re happy to get the win.”
Huey and Gonzales, seeded first in the competition, were all business from the get-go as they seized control of the opening set by going up 3-0. After Alcantara and Patrombon held serve in the fourth game to get on the scoreboard at 1-3, Gonzales and Huey swept the next three games to close out the set at 6-1.
The second set seemed to be going a similar route as the top seeds once again opened a 3-1 lead. Alcantara and Patrombon, however, willed themselves back into the match by taking the ninth game to keep the score close, 4-5.
Huey, though, made sure not to allow the match to reach a deciding third set as he held serve to close out the final, 6-4.
“It’s always great to win the tournament, but especially with a great friend like Treat to do it together for my first gold, this is my fourth finals, and to finally get it done, it feels really good,” said Gonzales.
“Obviously, congratulations to our teammates, they’re like a family to us, it was a great result for them too.”
The victory marks only the fourth time in SEA Games history that the Philippines bagged the men’s doubles gold medal. The previous titles came in 1981 (Alex Marcial and Ody Gabriel), 1991 (Felix Barrientos and Roland So), and 2019 (Alcantara and Patrombon).
With the 1-2 finish in men’s doubles, Philippine tennis increased its haul to one gold, one silver, and four bronzes – the country’s best output in the sport since the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore when the Nationals won one gold, three silvers, and four bronzes.
“It was a great week for the team events, singles, mixed, everybody in the team had a really good week, so we’re happy to finish here with gold in the men’s doubles,” said Huey. – Rappler.com