Joseph Arcilla made a name for himself by securing the country’s first-ever gold medal in men’s singles at the 32nd edition of the Southeast Asian Games’ soft tennis championships on Wednesday.
The event took place at the Olympic Complex Soft Tennis Center in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Arcilla, the brother of Philippine tennis legend Johnny, clinched his second Games title by defeating Indonesia’s Muhammad Hemat Bhakti Anugerah with a resounding 4-1 victory in the final.
“Nahirapan ako sa Thai at inabot kami ng 8-6, kaya pagkatapos ng game, nagka-cramps talaga ako. Meron pa rin siya sa final game. Pero inisiip ko na lang ang sinasabi ng psychologist namin na dapat laging think positive ‘pag nasa loob ng court,” he said.
This is the Philippines’ 26th gold of the Games.
The 35-year-old tennister was also part of the men’s team that won gold when soft tennis was last featured in the 2019 Games held in Manila.
Arcilla also led the Philippines to the men’s team bronze, with PSC commissioners Fritz Gaston and Wawit Torres cheering them on.
Meanwhile, Bambi Zoleta fell to Indonesian Dwi Pitri in the women’s singles, 4-3 (7-4), to settle for the silver.
Zoleta was part of the PH women’s team that grabbed a gold on Tuesday, with Christy Sañosa, Fatima Ayesha Amirul, Noelle Conchita Mañalac and Virvienica Isearis Bejosano, and doubles’ champion doubles champion Bien Zoleta-Manalac and Princess Catindig.