Thursday, September 19, 2013

Fair Play: Davis Cup: Let's morning the night

(This Fair Play appears in the Sept. 19 issue of Sun.Star Cebu)
THAT’S the favorite phrase of my college buddies whenever we had an occassion to celebrate. That’s also something that aptly describes the Davis Cup tie between New Zealand and the Philippines over the weekend at Plantation Bay.

Due to a series of not-so-unlikely incidents, Marian C. Baring’s coverage of the event ended at 2 a.m. For sure, there are sports coverages that last up to midnight, or even later, but those were events that are support to finish late, like boxing.

Not Davis Cup.

So, how come it finished late? I think Murphy’s law--or plain and simple bad luck---has something to do with it.

Two things organizers hoped wouldn’t happen when they plotted the scheduled, happened.

There was a rain delay and the matches went the full five sets.

Then there was that altercation between Alistair Hunt and Randy Villanueva, which further delayed the match and resulted to, according to those in the venue, the umpire announcing that cheering wasn’t allowed due to “Resort policy.”

Really? After what, five ties at Plantation Bay you now announced that cheering isn’t allowed?

Despite of all of that, you have to salute what our Philippine team did, especially Ruben Gonzales, Treat Huey and Nino Alcantara.

Nino and Treat kept us alive by winning the doubles, and Super Ruben fought back to beat Rubin Statham in five sets, setting up a fifth singles between Huey and Michael Venus.

Though he’s a doubles specialist, Huey isn’t a stranger to that situation. Against South Korea in 2010, trailing 2-0, the Philippines fought back to win, 3-2, with Treat winning the final singles match. You and I didn’t hear much about the match because just like last weekend, it wasn’t televised.

When Treat took that two-set lead, I thought, this is it. What a story it would be for the papers the next day. (The match was held so late that it didn’t make the deadline.) But it’s never over until the fat lady sings and Venus (There will be no Solar System references from me thank you very much) had other ideas, taking the final three sets for the win

Despite the loss, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. The Philippine team did its best.

P.S. It’s good that Randy didn’t bite when Alistair Hunt challenged him to a mano-a-mano contest in his room. Why? Because for the love of the god-of-awkward situations, why would you challenge someone to a fight in the privacy of your room, abir?

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