Cebuana Lhuillier has emerged not only as a financial institution but also as a fervent supporter of sports in the Philippines. Spearheaded by President and CEO Jean Henri Lhuillier, the company has played a pivotal role in championing various sports, including basketball, softball, and particularly tennis.
Lhuillier, a staunch advocate for tennis and the President of Unified Tennis Philippines has been the driving force behind nearly 2,000 sponsored tournaments over the past three decades. The company’s commitment extends beyond tournaments, with the establishment of the Cebuana Lhuillier Age Group tennis program, designed to empower players aged 18 and below, ensuring a steady stream of fresh talents for the nation.
One of the outstanding products of Cebuana Lhuillier’s tennis program is Francis Casey “Nino” Alcantara, a name synonymous with success in recent years. Growing up in Cagayan de Oro, Alcantara’s passion for tennis was ignited by his father, who was also a tennis enthusiast. Living across a tennis court, he honed his skills through dedicated practice, making a mark in the Cebuana Lhuillier age group tennis.
Alcantara’s journey from a Cebuana Lhuillier Age Group superstar to a world-class tennis player is a testament to the success of the sports program. With Jean Henri Lhuillier’s unwavering support, Alcantara transitioned from dominating age group tournaments to competing in international junior tournaments, including victories at the 2009 Australian Open Juniors Doubles championship.
“I am so blessed to have been helped by so many people, especially Jean Henri Lhuillier and his company Cebuana Lhuillier. Tennis is an expensive sport, especially if you want to become a world-class player and I wouldn’t have been the first Filipino Grand Slam champion, if not for them. Even until now as a tennis professional, Cebuana Lhuillier and Jean Henri have continuously been here with me as I gear up towards cracking the top 100 spot. I am grateful for them and their support for my career,” says Alcantara.
Guided by Jean Henri Lhuillier, Alcantara secured a tennis scholarship at Pepperdine University in California, USA. Upon graduation, he turned professional, becoming one of Cebuana Lhuillier’s sports ambassadors. His career highlights include climbing the world rankings, winning numerous ITF tournaments, achieving a career-best doubles ranking of 176, and securing a gold medal at the SEA Games alongside partner Ruben Gonzales.
The enduring relationship between Francis Alcantara and Cebuana Lhuillier symbolizes a story of commitment and dedication. Lhuillier’s belief in Alcantara’s potential, evident from the early age group tournaments, paved the way for the tennis prodigy’s successful journey to becoming one of the nation’s most accomplished players.