Members of the Phl soft tennis team erupt to a frenzied celebration after completing a three-gold sweep
Joey Mendoza
Soft netters slam aces
Miguel La Torre (The Philippine Star) - December 10, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The men soft netters got the best of their Thai counterparts, 2-1, to complete a hat trick for Team Phl following earlier wins in women’s singles and women’s doubles.

Manduriao, together with his partner Dheo Talatayod, edged Teerapat Sujaritplee and Torlarp Songweera, 5-3, in the doubles rubber.

Back in 2018, the 31-year-old Manduriao was forced to stop training after being diagnosed with a disc bulge on his spine. He recalled the days when he was unable to walk properly, fighting an injury that could have cost his whole career.

“Yung spine ko, lumabas yung tubig niya sa disc. Sabi ng doctor baka raw pwedeng sobra sa pag stretch, yung mga pag yuko,” said Manduriao. “Nakakalakad ako pero hindi maayos, naka tiptoe. Pinagbawalan ako na maglaro dahil may tendency na kapag natanggal yung disc, ma-paralyzed yung right foot ko.

Following surgery, Manduriao persevered and endured baby steps to get back to form.

“Almost six months akong huminto tapos unti-unting balik ng training hanggang naka-recover,” he said.

The duo provided the coup de grace after Joseph Arcilla kept the team in contention with a 4-1 whipping of Kawin Yannarit, 4-1, in singles.

The Thais went a match away from the gold when Sakan Thansiriroj and Thanarit Surarak topped Mark Alcoseba and Noel Damian Jr., 5-3, in the first doubles.

But the Phl soft netters just won’t be denied.

Even with Manduriao and Talatayod falling behind, 2-3, in the decider, the Filipino pair summoned great resolve to salvage the game, the set and the match for the gold.

“Sobrang saya dahil kahit may injury ako, nilaban ko kung anong meron ako sa likod,” said the former University of Perpetual Help standout.“Yung laban namin, hindi lang para sa amin; para sa bansa natin at sa lahat ng nagtitiwala sa amin, para sa kanila yun.”

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