Tierro leads PHL campaign in Davis Cup tie against Thailand

MANILA — Patrick John Tierro will lead the Philippine campaign in the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group 2 semifinal against Thailand next week, the Philippine Tennis Association (Philta) announced on Friday.

Philta secretary general Romeo Magat said Jeson Patrombon and Albert “AJ” Lim Jr. will also carry the national colors in the best-of-five to be played from April 7 to 9 at the National Tennis Development Center outdoor hard courts in Nonthaburi, Thailand.

Tierro, 31, has played in 18 ties since he debuted in the Davis Cup in 2004.

The 24-year-old Patrombon is currently ranked No. 1186 in the world. He has played in the Davis Cup seven times, winning five singles matches.

Lim, the youngest member of the team at 17, had a career-best ranking of No. 12 in the world juniors, having played in all four Grand Slam Juniors. His most recent achievement was leading the University of the East to a title victory in the UAAP.

Many-time Davis Cup coach Martin Misa will return to the team as captain following the withdrawal of coach Karl Santamaria. The team will leave for Bangkok on Tuesday.

In an interview over Sports Radio, Magat has confirmed that Filipino-Americans Treat Huey and Ruben Gonzales, and Francis Casey Alcantara have injuries that prevented them from seeing action in Thailand.

Huey, Gonzales, Alcantara and Lim made up the Philippine team which defeated Indonesia, 4-1, last month and earned the right to face Thailand in the semifinal.

Magat, who will act as head of delegation, has remained optimistic that despite the change of line-up, the Philippines will be able to put up a good fight against Thailand, which will be represented by 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