Long-time tennis backers Cebuana Lhuillier and Palawan Pawnshop have withdrawn their support for the Philippine Lawn Tennis Association (PHILTA) citing “lack of trust with the personalities running the organization.”
Cebuana Lhuillier President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jean Henri Lhuillier and Palawan Pawnshop President ang CEO Bobby Castro were demoralized following the election of Salvador “Buddy” Andrada and Romeo Magat as president and vice-president of PHILTA recently.
“We can no longer give support to an association we feel is mismanaged by two people (Andrada and Magat) who have not shown any platform and programs for the past many years,” Lhuillier said in a statement sent to The Times.
A part of the statement reads, “The controversy started when former President Edwin Olivarez relinquished the PHILTA Presidency as a requisite of taking public office, the proper line of succession should have installed the then Vice President Randy Villanueva. Instead, a snap election was conducted contrary to association rules and it was held without observing the prescribed duration of time, prior and proper notice.”
For his part, Castro said, “We feel that PHILTA, under the leadership of Mr. Andrada and Mr. Magat have been grossly remiss in its mission of advancing the sport of tennis in the Philippines. We believe that for Philippine Tennis to advance, we need fresh ideas and new leadership.”
Lhuillier and Castro, however, will continue their grassroots development programs through staging of age-group tournaments with a new unified ranking system – and without sanction from PHILTA.
“We are only pulling out our support to the association but not to the development of tennis in the Philippines. We will continue our thrust of developing fresh talents through our age group tennis circuit and we are upholding our support to our national team professional athletes,” stressed Lhuillier.
Cebuana Lhuillier has been supporting the campaign of Filipino-American Treat Huey in major international tournaments including Grand Slam events as well as other Filipino players such as Ruben Gonzales, Francis Casey Alcantara and Katharina Lehnert.
Lhuillier also served as team manager of the Philippine team in the Asia-Oceania Davis Cup and the Manila Mavericks in the star-studded International Premier Tennis League.
“Cebuana Lhuillier and Palawan Pawnshop comprise more than eighty percent of the age group tournaments in the country underlying the lack of programs from PHILTA. The two companies are also responsible for numerous men’s tennis opens including some international-laden tournaments,” according to the statement.
“These pull-outs of two top sponsors are just the first of what is expected to be a series of protest actions by different tennis stakeholders on Andrada’s insistence to retain the presidency amidst non-performance in his previous reign as president of PHILTA for 20 years,” the statement ended.
Andrada but could not be reached for comment as the PHILTA chief was in the hospital for regular check up on Tuesday, according to the association’s staff.