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AJ Lim prepping for SEAG debut

Tapped to take over the spot of long-time national team standout Treat Huey in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games slated next month, fast-rising homegrown netter Alberto “AJ” Lim Jr. is raring to prove he’s more of a capable replacement.

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Lim, 18, is currently undergoing a two-month training under the tutelage of three-time SEA Games singles play gold medalist Cecil Mamiit in Los Angeles, California, eager to leave no stone unturned ahead of his much-awaited debut in the Aug. 19-30 showpiece in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

“So far, AJ is doing good, according to Cecil,” said Lim’s proud father, Albert, in a phone interview yesterday.

“Alam niya (AJ) kasi na kung dito lang siya sa Manila magti-training, walang mangyayari na mas maganda. Mabuburo lang siya dito kumbaga.

“Hindi niya makakalaban dito ‘yung mas magagaling na players. Besides, iba rin naman kasi ‘yung training sa Pilipinas, iba rin ‘yung training dun sa ibang bansa.”

Arguably the country’s top junior netter for quite some time, Lim has been included by the Philippine Tennis Association (Philta) to the eight-man PH unit in the biennial multi-sport event after the 31-year-old Huey backed out reportedly due to his hectic schedule next month.

The Fil-American Huey, who won the country’s lone gold medal in tennis back in the 2015 Singapore SEA Games in partnership with lady counterpart Denise Dy, has earlier committed on joining the US Open, set from Aug. 28 to Sept. 10, to garner more Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) ranking points.

Huey’s loss, however, could turn out as Lim’s gains since the University of the East sophomore will carry the country’s fight alongside veterans Ruben Gonzales, Francis Casey Alcantara, Jeson Patrombon, Khim Iglupas, Katharina Lehnert, Anna Clarice Patrimonio and Dy.

The senior Lim added once AJ finishes his US training, bankrolled by Philippine Airlines and the Philippine Sports Commission, late this month, he will immediately fly back to the country for the “final stages of his preparations” for the Malaysian edition of SEAG.