OFF TO SOKOR: Members of the Philippine team (L-R) Robert Garcia, David William Peliño, Edgar Balleber (coach), Jonathan Reyes and Reymark Begornia) pose for a group photo at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Oct. 29, 2022. They will participate in the 21st Asian Team Championships from Oct. 31 to Nov. 4 in Cheongju, South Korea. (Contributed photo)

MANILA – Robert Andrew Garcia and three other squash players left on Saturday for South Korea to compete in the 21st Asian Squash Team Championships at the Cheongju International Squash Stadium from Oct. 31 to Nov. 4.

Reymark Begornia, David William Peliño and Jonathan Reyes are also joining the tournament which is a part of the team's preparation for the 2023 Hangzhou Asian Games. They are accompanied by coach Edgar Balleber.

Garcia, who is ranked No. 165 in the world, said: "The goal is to improve our ranking among the teams in Asia and at the same time, the tournament is a good opportunity for us to play against high-caliber athletes. Many Asian countries are in the world's top 20".

Malaysia won the title when it played host to the 2021 edition while the Philippines placed ninth.

India finished second followed by Hong Kong, Japan, Pakistan, South Korea, Iran and Iraq. Sri Lanka, Singapore and Indonesia were 10th, 11th and 12th, respectively.

The Asian Team Championships will be Garcia's seventh tournament this year. His Australian Tour includes the Costa North Coast Open in Coffs Harbour City, Alto Group Pennant Hills Open in Sydney, Volkswagen Open in Bega, New South Wales, Tasmanian Open and Eastside Open in Hobart City.

Garcia reached the quarterfinal round in Sydney. He also had the same performance at the Dynam Cup SQ-Cube Open in Yokohama, Japan last May.

Garcia won two medals at the 2019 Manila SEA Games, a silver in the men's singles and a gold in the mixed team with Begornia, Pelino, Jemyca Aribado and Yvonne Alyssa Dalida. (PNA)