Lapu Lapu City — The Cebuana Lhuillier-Philippine team got the needed boost from Treat Huey and Ruben Gonzales on Saturday night to secure a series-clinching third win over Syria in the first round of their Group II Davis Cup campaign.
The Fil-American duo displayed their vast experience to overpower the duo of Issam Haitham Taweel and Marc Abdelnour, 6-0, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2, for a commanding 3-0 lead and a spot in the next round of the Asia Oceania Zone.
By clinching the best-of-five tie, yesterday’s reverse singles, being played at presstime pitting Gonzales against Taweel followed by Arcilla versus Abdelnour, were turned into mere exhibition matches.
It was Huey and Gonzales’ second win in three appearances as a pair, further showcasing the depth of the squad. Huey also snared his seventh doubles triumph against four losses since joining the squad in 2009, while Gonzales improved to a 3-2 in his three-year stint.
Last Friday, Johnny Arcilla downed Taweel, Syria’s nominated No. 1 player, 6-4,5-7, 6-1, 6-2, before Gonzales edged Abdelnour, 6-4, 7-6 (1), 6-2, to get the commanding lead going to the crucial doubles.
“We’re not expecting a sweep because Taweel and Abdelnour also have international experiences being based in Egypt and France, respectively,” said PH non-playing team captain Roland Kraut. “But the team showed more confidence so it’s a great win for us.”
The Filipinos are still waiting for their next opponent slated to be competed on April 5 to 7 here in the country with Thailand and Kuwait in a neck-to-neck battle at presstime. The Thais are leading their matchup, 2-1, after winning the doubles also held last Saturday.
Huey, ranked No. 36 in the ATP doubles, said the tie win fueled their bid to regain their Group I slot they lost in 2011. Two more tie wins and the Filipinos will be promoted to the said elite Group next year.
“I think our team is getting better over the last couple of years, with Johnny and Ruben and Onyok (Anasta), as well as the younger guys like Nino (Alcantara) and Jeson (Patrombon). We have so many different players who are doing better and are ready to play for the team,” said Huey.
“I think we’ve shown that winning this tie, we’re ready to compete with other bigger teams in Asia,” he added.
With the Filipinos hosting the next tie, Kraut meanwhile said they are ready on whichever team they will be facing.
“Malamang claycourt yon, so maganda preparation for us. Everybody is ready to play singles and doubles,” said Kraut.
Huey and Gonzales are expected to resume their international campaigns in Europe and Mexico, respectively, with Huey immediately leaving Monday night for France.
“I keep on playing more and more tournaments to raise my rankings and getting ready for the next tie. After France, I’ll play in Netherlands, and then back in France for a few more tournaments,” Huey said.