By Nikole Javier
Khevine Cruz delivered a promising silver medal finish in the U-11 boys’ singles category in the World Table Tennis (WTT) Youth Contender tournament at the Fashion Island Mall in Bangkok, Thailand recently.
The 11-year-old ace overcame his first two matches to reach the championship round where he fell short, 11-5, 8-11, 10-12, 8-11, to Vatsal Duklan of India.
Cruz bounced back after trailing for two sets to beat Lai Yong Ren of Malaysia, 8-11, 9-11, 11-3, 11-4, 11-9, to eventually secure a place in the Final Four. During the quarterfinal round, he beat home bet Thanakrit Chompoowisat 11-9, 12-14, 11-6, 11-6.
Duklan, meanwhile, cruised past his opponent to easily get to the final, defeating Napop Daraneerut of Thailand, 11-6, 11-8, 11-6, in the quarterfinals, followed by Zhu Lyon of Singapore, 11-3, 11-7, 11-8, in the semis.
The young Cruz, whose 15-year-old sister, Kheith Cruz, is a national team mainstay, also saw action in the Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam earlier this year but lost her title bid to Kim Seongjin of South Korea, 11-7, 10-12, 10-12, 6-11, in the U-19 girls’ singles quarterfinal.
In the U-17 girls’ singles category, the older Cruz also failed entry to the quarterfinal to another South Korean, Lee Daeun, 11-6, 10-12, 6-11, 7-11.