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Overseas stint keys netters SEAG success

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF bien ZOLETA Bien and Bambi Zoleta lead the country’s medal haul in the soft tennis competition of the 32nd Southeast Asian Games.

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Joseph Arcilla, who won the men’s singles title in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games, has credited overseas exposure for winning five medals here.

Interviewed on The Athletes’ Tribune, Arcilla said the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions has enabled them to prepare and match the three gold medals they won in 2019 at home.

The national team completed a 17-day training camp in Sunchang, South Korea from 29 March to 14 April.

“At first, we were nervous since it’s been a while playing in the SEA Games. But playing and training outside of the Philippines got our confidence back and slowly, we were able to recover since we were competing against different opponents,” Arcilla told host Nikki Viola.

“So when this year’s SEA Games rolled around, our fears and worries were gone.”

He is the younger brother of many-time tennis champion Johnny Arcilla.


‘So when this year’s SEA Games rolled around, our fears and worries were gone.’


Apart from the singles gold, Arcilla also pocketed the men’s team bronze with Mark Alcoseba, Sherwin Nuguit, Dheo Talatayod and George Patrick Mendoza.

Bien Zoleta, coming back from an anterior cruciate ligament injury, teamed up with Princess Catindig for the women’s doubles gold before they joined Bambi Zoleta, Fatima Amirul and Vievernica Bejosano for the gold medal of the women’s team event.

Bambi settled for silver in the women’s singles event to bring the tally to three golds, one silver and one bronze.

For Bien, the playing of the national anthem in a foreign land gave her goosebumps and made their preparations worth it.

“The experience was great, especially singing Lupang Hinirang in Cambodia. The hard work paid off because we were able to execute well there,” Bien said.

Bambi said the presence of Philippines Sports Commission chairman Richard “Dickie” Bachmann and Philippine Olympic Committee President Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, boosted their morale.

“To the PSC and POC, we felt your support and we thank you for watching us play. Even with the venue being so hot, you stayed and finished our games,” Bambi said.



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