RUBEN Gonzales believes experience will play a huge factor in the Davis Cup Group II second round tie as the Philippine squad featuring seasoned veterans battles a Thailand side laden with teenagers starting on Friday at the Plantation Bay Resort and Spa in Lapu Lapu City.
Aside from Gonzales, seeing action for the Philippines is fellow 27-year-old Filipino-American Treat Huey. Many-time PCA Open champion Johnny Arcilla, 33, is also in the roster, with Francis Casey Alcantara the youngest at 21.
“I think some of their players are pretty young and it should work in our favor,” said Gonzales in a radio interview on DZSR Sports Radio ahead of their Davis Cup tie against their Southeast Asian rivals.
World No. 207 Danai Udomchoke, 32, heads a Thai team featuring 17-year-old Wishaya Trongcharoenchaikul, 19-year-old Nuttanon Kadchapanan, and 18-year-old Pruchya Isarow. Their non-playing team captain is Tanaporn Srichaphan, brother of retired ATP player Paradorn.
Gonzales said he is in the process of acclimatizing to the hot weather in Cebu after competing in a Challenge Tour tournament.
“I’m trying to (adjust). I came from Mexico for a Challenge Tour and it was warm too but not as warm as this. I need to get a couple of days to adjust,” said Gonzales.
Gonzales sees no problem playing on the shell-clay court surface of the Plantation Bay.
“Clay is my favorite surface. I played on clay for eight months last year in South America and in Europe so it’s a surface that I’m very comfortable with,” said Gonzales.
Gonzales is confident about the team’s chances, citing Huey’s recent runner-up finish in the doubles competition of the ATP Indian Wells tournament.
“I had a couple of weeks to train. My body feels good and I’ve played well in matches. Seeing the team, we have a chance.
“But Thailand also has a great team with Danai really playing well,” said Gonzales.