Top Filipina squash player Jemyca Aribado will lead the Philippine team’s campaign in the Nissan Open Squash Championships slated on May 16 at the Manila Polo Club Courts in Makati City.
The $5,000 tournament will offer world ranking points, which will be the basis of the seeding of players in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in August.
“This is one of the most important tournaments before we compete in SEA Games. The less points we get here would mean facing a stronger opponent in the opening draw there,” said Philippine Squash Academy president Robert Bachmann in an interview.
The 2016 Menpora Kijono Cup champion Aribado, ranked No. 103 in the Professional Squash Association ratings, earned an outright berth in the women’s main draw while world’s No. 342 Robert Garcia was picked by the squash national sports association as its wild card bet.
Besides Aribado and Garcia, the other Filipino squash players who will pit their skills against top caliber opponents are David Pelino, Reymark Begonia, Lydio Espinola, Aysa Dalida, Joan Aribado.
The team is under the tutelage of newly appointed Filipino-Malaysian coach Valentino Bong.
Among the top seed players who will see action in the competition are Malaysia’s Elvinn Keo and India’s Harinder Pal Singh, who are rated No. 94 and No. 95, respectively.
On the other hand, Malaysia’s Rachel Arnold (No. 55) and Hong Kong’s Vanessa Chua (No. 58) are the main attractions in the women’s singles competition.
According to Bachmann, the tournament will gauge the capacity of the Filipino players and provide them insight for adjustments.
After the competition, the team will undergo a 36-day training camp in Auckland, New Zealand as part of their preparation for the SEA Games.