Santamaria quits as RP Davis Cup team captain

MANILA — Collegiate coach Karl Santamaria has resigned as captain of the Philippine Davis Cup team.

Santamaria, who steered the National University (NU) women’s team to four consecutive titles in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP), told the Philippine News Agency on Thursday that his decision was due to personal reasons.

“As of yesterday, I have withdrawn as captain due to personal reasons,” said Santamaria, who also mentored the multi-titled University of Santo Tomas before moving to NU.

Santamaria served as captain of the team that scored a 4-1 victory over Indonesia last month in the first round of the Asia-Oceania Zone Group 2 tie at the Philippine Columbian Association (PCA) indoor shell courts in Paco, Manila.

Santamaria’s withdrawal was another blow to the Philippine team which will play minus Filipino-American Treat Huey in the second round scheduled April 7 to 9 at the National Tennis Development Center outdoor hard courts in Nonthaburi, Thailand.

“Treat pulled out due to injury,” confirmed Santamaria when asked about the status of Huey playing in Bangkok.

The Philippine Tennis Association has yet to announce the replacement of Santamaria.

According to the Davis Cup website, the nominated players for the Philippines are Francis Casey Alcantara, Ruben Gonzales, Jeson Patrombon and Albert Lim Jr.

Representing host Thailand are Wishaya Trongcharoenchaikul, Jirat Navasirisombon and twins Sonchat and Sonchai Ratiwatana — all with world rankings. Team captain is Vittaya Samrej.

Trongcharoenchaikul is currently No. 725 in the singles, Navasirisombon is No. 989 (singles) while Sonchat is No. 87 and Sonchai is No. 92 in the doubles.

The Philippines and Thailand are 2-2 in their head-to-head record. The last time they met was in the 2013 semifinal, with the Philippine team of Johnny Arcilla, Huey, Gonzales and Alcantara winning 4-1 over the Thai squad comprising Trongcharoenchaikul, Nuttanon Kadchapanan, Pruchya Isaraw and Danai Udomchoke at the clay courts in Cebu City.

Thailand won, 4-1, when it hosted the final in 1999 in the venue which, incidentally, is the same venue for next month’s tie.

Thailand scored a 4-1 victory in the first round of the 1998 tie played at the PCA courts while the Philippines won, 4-1, in their quarterfinal encounter in Bangkok in 1985. Jean Malanum/PNA-northboundasia.com