Pak to face Philippine in Davis Cup challenge today

MANILA: The Philippines Davis Cup team are banking on home advantage and the slow clay surface at the Philippine Columbian Association (PCA) courts when they take on a tough Pakistan side in their Asia-Ocenia Zone Group II tie on Friday.

As hosts, we should take advantage of all these factors especially since we are up against very good team in Pakistan, the Philippines team coordinator Randy Villanueva said.

I think playing on slow courts gives us an advantage as Pakistan like to play on faster courts. And of course, crowd support will definitely be a morale booster for our players.

Led by Cecil Mamiit, Filipino Cuppers battle Pakistanis in best-of-five tie from July 10-12 at Shell Courts of the PCA in Manila.

Non-playing team captain Chris Cuarto said were asking our countrymen to please support our team by watching Davis Cup matches. It will definitely boost the morale of our players.

Besides Mamiit, the squad comprises Treat Conrad Huey, junior standout Francis Casey Alcantara and Patrick John Tierro, who scored emphatic 4-1 win over Hong Kong last March.

Meanwhile the Pakistan team includes Aisamul Haq Qureshi, Aqeel Khan, Jalil Khan and Yasir Khan. Pakistanis arrived here last week to get acclimatized to the weather and local courts.

Villanueva has confidence in the Filipino netters and believes they will put up a strong fight against the Pakistanis.

As host, we should take advantage of all these factors, especially since were up against a very good team in Pakistan.

A victory over Pakistan would set up Filipinos in a showdown with winner of Indonesia-New Zealand duel for promotional tie in Group 1. Philippines routed Pakistan, 4-1, in their last Davis Cup meeting in 2007 at the same venue.

This years tie was scheduled to be played in Pakistan but the International Tennis Federation moved it to the Philippines due to security concerns after the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore.