From pulot boy to SEA Games champion

SEAG CHAMP. Mark Anthony Alcoseba of Davao City celebrates their gold medal after beating Thailand, 2-1, in their 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games men's soft tennis team finals at the Rizal Memorial Tennis Center yesterday, December 10. (Contributed photo)

MANILA -- Dabawenyo Mark Anthony Alcoseba at last got his first taste of gold medal victory as he ended his 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games debut on a high note following the Philippine men's soft tennis team's 2-1 win over Thailand in their finals at Rizal Memorial Tennis Center here yesterday, December 10.

Alcoseba and partner Noel Damian, Jr. lost to Thais Sakan Thansiriroi and Thanarit Surarak, 3-5, in the first doubles match.

The 32-year-old Philippine Army Private First Class said, "Down mi 0-4 agad pero humabol kami naging 3-4 kaso kinapos na (We were down by four at the start but we managed to trim the lead 3-4 only to lose steam at the stretch)."

Good enough that Joseph Arcilla of Butuan City defeated Kawin Yannarit, 4-1, in their first singles clash to level the match at 1-all.

The Filipino tandem of Miko Manduriao and Dheo Talatayod, however, turned back rivals Teerapat Sujaritplee and Torlarp Songweera, 5-3, to nail the gold.

"Happy kaayo mi kay first time man gud sa history pud sukad sukad ang soft tennis sa Pilipinas nga nag gold.

Tapos kami tanan over-all sa babae og lalake (We're very happy because this is historic for the Philippine soft tennis to win Seag gold and we are the overall champions in both men and women)," said the netter who used to be a pulot (ball) boy at Sandawa and Ecoland tennis courts at age 11. For six years, since then, he juggled going to school, tennis training and doing side job as ball boy.

After winning his Seag gold, Alcoseba wants to to share his talent to youngsters who also dream of playing in the SEA Games. He also dreams of competing in the Olympics, saying, "Masaya sa feeling man gud pagdala nimo bandera ng Pilipinas."

He dedicates his gold to his wife Dianalyn and sons Xian Anthony, seven, and Sean Gabriel, five.

Alcoseba, who joined the national soft tennis team two years ago and helped the country win a team bronze in the Korea Cup 2017, a team silver in the 1st Southeast Asian Soft Tennis Championship 2017 and a team gold in Southeast Asian Soft Tennis Championship 2018, also thanked Col. Jeff Tamayo, soft tennis president, their coaches, Philippine Army and his family for their support.

The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) funded their training and exposures abroad to beef up their preparations for the biennial meet.

It can be recalled that Alcoseba bagged a doubles silver medal for Davao Region in the 2005 Palarong Pambansa while he was studying at Rizal Memorial Colleges. He also collected team gold medals for Davao in the National Prisaa Games (NPG) 2006 in Lingayen, Pangasinan and in Iloilo City in 2007 and doubles gold in Zamboanga 2008. He at last clinched a singles gold in the 2011 NPG in Zamboanga while he was a varsity scholar at Jose Maria College then at Brokenshire College.

He also harvested titles in the Pinamalayan Mindoro National Tennis Open 2019, Pinta Flores National Tennis Open 2018, Calbayog National Tennis Open 2017, Cainta National Tennis Open 2016, Olivarez National Tennis Open 2015, Lanao National Tennis Open 2013-2014, Carascal National Open 2013, Isulan National Open 2011, 2012, 2013 and Gensan Tuna Festival 2012.


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