MANILA, Philippines – Francis Alcantara and Jeson Patrombon delivered the Philippines' first and only tennis gold in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games after outclassing their compatriots in an all-Filipino final.
Teaming up in the SEA Games for the first time, Alcantara and Patrombon came from behind en route to a 7-6 (7/2), 6-5 win over Treat Huey and Ruben Gonzales in the men's doubles on Saturday, December 7.
Although the Philippines was already assured of a gold regardless of the results, the two Filipino tandems went toe-to-toe, with the Huey-Gonzales duo winning back-to-back games for a 4-3 lead in the 2nd set.
The Patrombon-Alcantara pair, though, rallied in the next two games for a 5-4 lead before overcoming 3 break points in the final game to nail the top prize.
A Gonzales mishit at match point marked the end of the clash that lasted for one and a half hours under the scorching heat of the sun as Filipino fans at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex broke into applause.
Interestingly, Alcantara notched his first SEA Games gold medal at the expense of his former partners – winning bronze with Huey in 2015 in Singapore and silver with Gonzales in 2017 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
His familiarity with both Huey and Gonzales proved to be the difference.
"We've known them for a few years now and we've been teammates so we know their weaknesses and their strengths. We just worked hard and executed as good as possible," Alcantara told reporters.
The last time the Philippines won a gold medal in SEA Games tennis was in 2015 courtesy of Huey and Dennis Dy in mixed doubles. – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.