More than being a financial company, Cebuana Lhuillier and its President and CEO Jean Henri Lhuillier, have been a dedicated champion for sports development in the country. Aside from supporting basketball and softball, Cebuana Lhuillier and Jean Henri remain a strong force that backs local tennis development and national athletes.
Lhuillier, a strong tennis patron and the President of Unified Tennis Philippines, has sponsored close to 2,000 tournaments that range from Open to Age Group tournaments for more than three decades. For the past two decades, Cebuana Lhuillier has also developed a grassroots program through the Cebuana Lhuillier Age Group tennis which empowers players aged 18 and below. By doing so, Cebuana Lhuillier has ensured fresh talents for the country every year.
Among the many top products of Cebuana Lhuillier age tennis and who has enjoyed the utmost support of Jean Henri Lhuillier throughout the years is one of the country’s most successful players in recent years, Francis Casey “Nino” Alcantara.
From a Cebuana Lhuillier Age Group Superstar to a World-Class Tennis Player
Francis Alcantara grew up passionate about tennis, especially as he grew up heavily influenced by his father who also played the sport, and their family lived across a tennis court in Cagayan de Oro. With his proximity to a tennis court, his passion was ignited as he was able to hone his skills through practice and thorough dedication to the sport.
When he was young, Alcantara honed his talents by competing in Cebuana Lhuillier age group tennis which he dominated for years. With him as a force to reckon with the age group ranks, he soon started competing in international junior tournaments with the help of tennis patrons such as Jean Henri Lhuillier. He was eventually able to compete in singles and doubles in junior grand slams in various parts of the world, including the four major Grand Slams.
His main breakthrough moment was when he became the 2009 Australian Open Juniors Doubles champion.
Through the guidance and assistance of Jean Henri Lhuillier, Nino became a tennis scholar at Pepperdine University in California, USA.
Upon graduation, he became a tennis professional and has been one of Cebuana Lhuillier’s sports ambassadors.
Throughout the years, Nino has steadily climbed the world rankings, especially in the doubles category, winning several ITF tournaments, and has now achieved his career-best ranking of 176. He has also been a SEA games gold medalist along with Ruben Gonzales as his partner and has represented the country in Davis Cup competitions for more than a decade.
“I am so blessed to have been helped by so many people, especially Jean Henri Lhuillier and his company Cebuana Lhuillier. Tennis is an expensive sport, especially if you want to become a world-class player and I wouldn’t have been the first Filipino Grand Slam champion, if not for them. Even until now as a tennis professional, Cebuana Lhuillier and Jean Henri have continuously been here with me as I gear up towards cracking the top 100 spot. I am grateful for them and their support for my career,” says Alcantara.
The impressive career of Francis Alcantara and his relationship with Cebuana Lhuillier brings in a story of commitment and dedication. From the moment Lhuillier witnessed how much potential Alcantara has, Lhuillier invested his trust in him and continued believing in him until he achieved his dreams and became one of the most successful tennis players that the country has.
As Alcantara continues to aim for more milestones in his playing career, Cebuana Lhuillier will continue to give him the support he needs as it proves to be a testament of their sports advocacy and their strong belief in Filipino athletes. PR