Cebuana Lhuillier Sports spearheaded by one of the country’s long-time and most supportive sports patron, Jean Henri Lhuillier, announced its 2015 plans to further boost the athletes’ chances to have stellar performances in tennis, softball, bowling and basketball competitions. Anchored on a two-pronged strategy of supporting national teams that have the potential to be at par with the world’s best and grassroots development to continuously tap and train fresh talents through a sustained sports program.
“Growing up, I have been fascinated with sports — its discipline and its benefits. But it is the realization that our country has a great selection of world-class athletes and a vast pool of potential talents that led me to discover, develop, and support our Filipino athletes,” said Lhuillier, who is concurrently the Chairman of the Board of the Philippine Tennis Association (PTA) and President of the Amateur Softball Association of the Philippines (ASAPHIL).
Under the leadership of Lhuillier, RP Blu Boys and Blu Girls have brought numerous victories for the country such as multiple gold medals in the Southeast Asian Games and qualifying in World Cup and World Championhips.
For 2015, RP Blu Boys and RP Blu Girls are both gunning for the gold medal once again in the upcoming Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) and Blu Boys, 2nd placer in last year Asian Men’s Championships, will be competing in the World Men’s Championships to be held in Canada in June.
The Philippine Davis Cup team on the other hand, is fresh from a victory agains Sri Lanka last April and will be playing against Chinese Taipei in July. The core of the team led by Treat Huey, Ruben Gonzales and Francis Casey Alcantara, will also be eyeing gold medals in the 2015 SEAG. Top women player Katharina Lehnert is also being funded by Lhuillier.
To help our tennis players improve their world rankings, Cebuana Lhuillier Sports is supporting an ITF Futures tournament slated in October to be held in Manila. Also, to help popularize tennis, Lhuillier has helped bring to the country the International Premiere Tennis League (IPTL) and is the team manager of the Serena Williams-led Philippine Mavericks. Filipino doubles specialist, Treat Huey is one of the cornerstones of the team.
“I am very excited with all the possibilities that our softball and tennis players can achieve this year and next year. Our national softball teams are a cinch for the gold medal in the upcoming Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) and we’re looking to break the top 10 in the Men’s Softball Championships. Our tennis players on the other hand are also eyeing the doubles and team gold in SEAG, advance to Asia Group 1 of Davis Cup next year while Huey and Gonzales are gunning for a slot in next year’s doubles event of the Olympics. Exciting times ahead of our national players in softball and tennis.” Lhuillier, revealed.
Parallel to the national team support, Cebuana Lhuillier Sports is also investing in grassroots development. They have been running the Cebuana Lhuillier Age Group tennis circuit for 9 years already and for this year, more than 30 legs will be played nationwide.
For softball, Cebuana Lhuillier Sports supported the recent staging of the 9th edition of the Summer Grand Slam organized by ASAPHIL under the leadership of Lhuillier. Summer Grand Slam, considered as the national open for softball have always discovered outstanding talents every year, most of whom are now part of the national team. The second half of 2015, ASAPHIL will also be organizing the annual Inter-Collegiate and Inter-Secondary Softball tournament to give national team aspirants the opportunity to showcase their skills.
Cebuana Lhuillier Sports also supports the National Youth Bowling team as part of its grassroots sports programs. The National Youth Bowling Team, led by the sensational Enzo Hernandez, recently bagged 2 silvers and 2 bronzes at the 18th Asian Youth Tenpin Bowling Championships in Macau.
For basketball, Lhuillier is managing his own team Cebuana Gems who is currently the league leader in the PBA D-League. Members of the team Norbert Torres and Almond Vosotros were part of the recently victorious team that ruled the 2015 Southeast Asian Basketball Association . They are also part of the squad gearing up for SEAG. Lhuillier was also the team manager of the team that won the gold medal of the 1993 SEAG. Members of that squad include GILAS players Gary David, Ranidel De Ocampo and Marc Pingris.
Proof of Cebuana Lhuillier Sports and Jean Henri Lhuillier successful sports programs are the stories of current national players tennis star Francis Casey “Niño” Alcantara and bowling sensation Enzo Hernandez. Alcantara was discovered while playing in the Cebuana Lhuillier Age-Group tennis circuit and was supported by Lhuilier in his international juniors tournaments. Alcantara eventually won the Australian Open Juniors Doubles competition in 2009 which paved the way for him to land a tennis scholarship in Pepperdine University where he graduated recently. He is now part of the tennis team to the Davis Cup and SEAG competitions.
Hernandez on the other hand is a product of the national youth bowling program supported by Cebuana Lhuillier Sports. He has improved tremendously the past few years that he is now spearheading not just the national youth team but also the RP men’s team.
“The stories of Nino and Enzo encourage me to continue with what we have been doing in Cebuana Lhuillier Sports. I know we are running something good and I hope that more members of the private sector will also start making contributions in our quest for having more world-class athletes such as Niño and Enzo”, added Lhuillier.