MANILA -- Dabawenyo Mark Anthony Alcoseba's second doubles tandem with Noel Damian saved the day for the Philippines in the men's soft tennis team, which bounced back from a first set loss to beat Laos, 2-1, at the start of the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games action at the Rizal Memorial Tennis Center on Saturday, December 7.
The country’s first doubles pair, Mikoff Manduriao and Dheo Talatayod bowed to Laos netters. However, Joseph Arcilla, brother of rated tennis player Johnny, defeated Phonsavanh Khanthanou in their first single match in the second set. Thus, forcing a decider.
Alcoseba, who is a Philippine Army Private First Class, used to be a pulot boy (ball boy) at the Sandawa and Ecoland tennis courts for six years. Now, he is competing in his first SEA Games since joining the national soft tennis team in 2017.
The 32-year-old bagged the team bronze in the Korea Cup 2017, silver in the 1st Southeast Asian Soft Tennis Championship 2017, and gold in the Southeast Asian Soft Tennis Championship 2018.
Alcoseba was eager to play in his SEA Games debut as it would be a privilege for him to bring pride and honor to the country.
"Unang una po ako excited at proud na maglalaro dala bandila ng ating bansa at dito pa lalaruin sa natin. Di rin maiwasan ang pressure pero handa naman kami kasi isang taon na din naming pinaghandaan at sakripisyo," he told SunStar Davao in a recent interview.
(I am excited and proud to play with the flag of our country and to play here. Not only was pressure relieved, but we were also ready for a year of preparation and sacrifice)
The national soft tennis team trained in South Korea for three weeks then spent another two weeks for training and tournament in Taiwan.
Alcoseba studied at the Rizal Memorial Colleges then at Jose Maria College, collecting several tennis golds and silvers in the Prisaa (Private Schools Athletic Association) National Games and Palarong Pambansa.