Top Filipino squash player cites big gains for SEAG team despite falling short of gold
The Philippine squash team was satisfied with its medal haul of two silvers and six bronzes in the SEA Games. Jerome Ascano

KUALA LUMPUR — The Philippine squash team is satisfied with two silvers and six bronze medals in the 29th Southeast Asian Games.

Robert Garcia, the top squash player of the Philippines ranked No. 280 in the world, said stints in the professional tour exposed them to top-level players before the SEA Games.

Two years ago in the Singapore Games, a four-member Philippine squash squad bagged three bronze medals for fourth place in a five-nation field.

In the KL Games, the Philippines wound up third behind Malaysia (6-4-2) and Singapore (3-2-5).

"Halos kasisimula pa lang namin sa pro tour," said Garcia,

On their way to the men's team silver, the Philippines beat top-seed Malaysia in the men's team event before bowing to Singapore in three matches, 2-1. Garcia was the lone winner as he beat Benedict Chan Jia Wei, 11-8, 9-11, 11-3, 11-9.

The other silver was bagged by Jemyca Aribado and Yvonne Alyssa Dalida in the women's jumbo doubles.

Garcia said the Philippines' national players are now able to compete consistently in the pro tour under the leadership of squash president Robert Bachmann

"Compare sa dati na once a year kami lumalabas, minsan wala pa, nakakasabay pa rin kami sa ibang team. Ngayon, since na umupo siya, pinasok kami as professionals. Naglalaro kami once, twice a month, dati once a year. Sobrang malaking pinagbago," said Garcia.

The squash team will returning to Malaysia next week to join another pro tournament.

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