FIRST, the good news: Cagayan de Oro native Francis Casey Alcantara reached career-high 259 in doubles tennis ranking.
This, after his streaking win with different partners in ITF Future men’s doubles abroad.
The latest of which was his tandem with Sonchat Ratiwatana of Thailand when they bested Ajeet Rai of New Zealand and Karunuday Singh of India, 6-1, 1-6, (10-6), in the final match of the Thailand Futures 6 at True Arena hardcourts in Thailand.
“I really feel great and hopefully, I can sustain it and gain more points to get me to the ATP tournaments the soonest possible time,” the 26-year-old Alcantara was quoted as saying.
It was his 11th title since turning pro in 2015, including five championships this year with different partners.
But then, the bad news: The Filipino ace’s homecourt -- the Nazareth Lawn Tennis Club (NLTC) in Cagayan de Oro may soon fold up, owing to the recently-announced construction of the new Barangay Hall of Nazareth right smack at the NLTC site.
“What a sad Christmas coming for us,” Oro’s most active tennis organizer Mario Inquito Craiz was quick to post on his Facebook account.
Craiz explained NLTC is home of finest tennis players in the Philippines and still continue to produce top players as varsities to different universities and colleges both in Manila and abroad.
“Needless to say, some of our products are our country's representatives carrying the banner of Philippines. This what made Nazareth known for. NLTC also produced best coaches who are now working in different parts of the globe.”
Craiz added that under the administration of Junjun Rodriguez, the barangay council of Nazareth would like to gain possession of the courts allegedly without conducting public forum or consultation.
Rodriguez reportedly announced this during the flag ceremony last Monday and last Saturday's meeting with the senior citizens.
Sun.star columnist and sportsman, lawyer Tibs Palasan also shared the same sentiments, reiterating that as “Home of Champions”, the Nazareth Lawn Tennis courts produced international champions Francis Casey Alcantara and Marisue Jacutin , National Champion Alberto Alerre Jr, world caliber coaches, Dewey D. Mosqueda, Allan Melendez, Izon Autentico, Roel Pacz Pacana, Ken Salvo, Ike Mosqueda as well as US tennis varsity Roxanne Resma, Emmanuel Vacalares, and unversity varsities in Manila such as Nikki de Dios, Lynette Palasan, Dave Estrella Mosqueda, Janelle Titan Llavore , Aubrey Calma, Audie Paduganan, Kent Ewing Narvasa and countless others who are being threatened by the barangay Nazareth’s demolition of the NLTC courts.
“The barangay has not contributed to the construction of the tennis courts and training of these champions and instead of contributing, it is planning to demolish the only tennis courts that cater to kids’ training,” a disappointed Palasan said.