Garcia carves out milestone win » Manila Bulletin Sports

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Robert Garcia outsmarted Malaysian top seed Valentino Bong, 11-8, 6-11, 15-17, 11-8, 11-7, in a riveting marathon match of the men’s singles finals of the 4th Nissan PSA Open last at The Palms Country Club squash courts in Muntinlupa City over the weekend.

Blending guile and power, Garcia humbled Bong after one hour of nail-biting action for the inaugural victory by a Filipino player in a Professional Squash Association World Tour event in front of a small but delighted hometown crowd that witnessed the historic accomplishment.

“Binalikan ko lang siya. I just played my game and played it smart,” said the exhausted but ecstatic Garcia of his well-earned win in pocketing the top prize of $500 on top of gaining 20 PSA ranking points after the five-set thriller.

“I made a lot of mistakes and I didn’t have my usual shot,” rued Bong, who is currently ranked No. 160 in the PSA world rankings, in losing to the hometown player, who, ironically, was one of his charges he handled on the national team that saw action in the 30th Malaysia Southeast Asian Games last August.

Bong, whose mother is a Filipina from Cavite, settled for the runner-up check of $300 plus 13 PSA ranking points in the three-day event supported by Nissan Motors Phils., which drew top players from South Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, Pakistan, Russia, England and Australia.

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