SUBIC BAY FREEPORT - Fresh from their successful campaign in the 2014 World Team Table Tennis Championships in Tokyo, Japan, five male and four female players from the country's national team are battling it out in the ongoing GAC-ITTF Philippine Open Challenge at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center.
Among the talents in the Philippine Team's roster is Richard Gonzales, who won a bronze medal in the last Southeast Asian Games.
Philippine Team coach Noel Gonzales said the tournament provides great exposure to the players as they are set against better-skilled players from 14 different countries.
"Coming in from another international tournament is an advantage. Plus, since our previous tournament is also sanctioned by the ITTF (International Table Tennis Federation), I think what we earned in Japan will have a bearing here," he said.
He proudly shared that the women's team swept its group and won the championship during their competition in Japan.
Gonzales added that the Philippines is making history with the hosting of an ITTF tournament here in Subic, which he described as "the most suitable venue" in the country.
"This is the biggest international table tennis tournament to be held here in the Philippines, the first of its kind, so it gives people the impression that we can host this kind of events," he said.
"I've been to many places in Europe and Asia for tournaments, and I must say that the SBMA (Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority) provided us with a world-class venue," Gonzales said.
"We have heard from people who also do sporting events here, and all we hear are nothing but praises about Subic," he added.
Atty. Ruel John Kabigting, SBMA deputy administrator for business and tourism, said that hosting the GAC-ITTF Philippine Open Challenge Series right after hosting the Ad Summit Pilipinas 2014 has been a welcome challenge for the agency.
"Being able to host two big events just days in between really makes the Subic Freeport a top venue choice, whether for sports or conferences," Kabigting said. (30)