THE Philippine team is counting on crowd support and familiarity with the low shell-clay surface at the Philippine Columbian Association courts as they try to topple the favored Thai team in the Davis Cup Asia Oceania Zone Group II tie in Paco, Manila this week.
The short-handed Philippine team was beaten black and blue last year in Thailand but Philippine Davis Cup administrator Martin Misa is confident the Filipinos can even things, with PCA champions AJ Lim and Johnny Arcilla, in-form Francis Casey Alcantara, Jeson Patrombon and John Bryan Otico in the squad.
“We produced a number of big comeback wins in this venue in the past because of the crowd support, so we hope tennis enthusiasts will come to support our team again,” said Misa.
The Thai team is composed of twins Sanchai and Sonchat Ratiwatana, Wishaya Trongcharoenchaikul, Jirat Navasirisomboon and Palaphoom Kovapitukted.
“On paper, the Thais are stronger and more experienced but they can’t take our team for granted this time,” said Misa. "Our team has been preparing for almost two weeks."
The Filipino and Thai players will hold a press conference on Wednesday, with the draw set on Friday at p.m. also at the PCA.
Philippine Tennis Association chief Antonio Cablitas is hoping the current squad can draw inspiration from the Raymund Suarez-led Philippine that defied great odds to defeat Japan in their Davis Cup tie in 1988.
“That’s perhaps the biggest win by a Philippine team in the Davis Cup, I hope we can do that against Thailand,” said Cablitas.