The national squash team’s preparation for the 2017 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia got a shot in the arm as the Philippines hosts the four-leg international squash series which starts on Friday at the Makati Sports Club.
The 1st Nissan Open Squash Championship will happen March 3 to 5 with players from Colombia, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Pakistan and host Philippines battling it out for the prize money of $1,000.
Philippine Squash Academy (PSA) President Robert Bachmann said their partnership with Nissan paved the way for the country to host a series of international events.
Bachmann added that the tournament would be a good exposure for the national players preparing for the biennial meet.
“We have good chances of winning gold in the SEA Games especially in the jumbo doubles and we’re [also]looking at taking a couple of silver and some medals as well,” said Bachmann.
He added that the second and third legs of the Nissan Open, which will be held from May 16 to 21 at the Manila Polo Club and has a prize money of $5,000 each for the men’s and women’s division. It is considered as the biggest purse in Philippine squash history.
Meanwhile, the fourth leg is scheduled on September 22 to 24.
Besides the Nissan Open, the team will also fly to New Zealand in June for a series of training before going to Malaysia for the August SEA Games.
The country’s top female squash player Jemyca Aribado will lead the team’s campaign in the Nissan Open.
“I will do my best to perform well in those PSA-sanctioned events because my goal this year is to enter the world’s top 50 ranking,” Aribado told The Manila Times.
Aribado is currently ranked No. 111 in the world, a big jump from her No. 225 ranking last September when she first joined a PSA world tour event in China.
Aside from Aribado, Bachmann named Yvonne Alyssa Dalida, Reymark Begornia, Robert Andrew Garcis, David William Pelino, and Lydio Espinola Jr. among the potential medal winners in the SEA Games.
To help the national team, Bachmann tapped Filipino-Malaysian Valentino Bon Jovi Bong, world’s No. 31 player, to serve as their foreign coach.