Alex Eala does not only deserve praise. Shower her with love and compassion too. By winning again during the weekend, in faraway Italy, she thrust the country on the world map anew.
It is not every day that we see a Filipino win a global sporting event. So that anytime we see one garnering an international podium finish is an automatic big deal.
Surely, a huge amount of sacrifice attended the victory, carved out of Eala’s sheer skill and big heart. It can only be the result, again, of the three Ds in sports: determination, daring, discipline.
That was obvious as Eala decisively defeated Czech Republic’s Nikola Bartunkova in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3.
The win was doubly sweeter as Eala avenged her loss to the Czech prodigy two years ago in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) World Junior Championship.
In netting the Grade A Trofeo Bonfiglio title in Milan, Eala completed a rare twin triumph as she partnered with American Madison Sieg in capturing the event’s doubles championship on Saturday.
She more than deserved the victories. She was the tournament’s top seed.
The win over the No. 14 Bartunkova, ranked 863 in world women’s and 60th in girls, ended a two-year singles drought. Eala’s last victory was in the JA event in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2019. Her weekend win was her fourth singles title as a Rafael Nadal Academy scholar the last five years or so, her run of victories embellished by five international doubles crowns that include two doubles majors in the 2020 Australian Open and the 2021 French Open.
We have a Yuka Saso, turning 20 only last month, rising unstoppably in golf after winning twice in the tough Japan Tour last year before pocketing the U.S. Open this year. And now Eala, just 16, steadily shooting for the summit in tennis.
The country couldn’t be prouder and is immensely grateful to Saso and Eala. Their efforts bathed in sacrifice and we willingly reciprocate with love and compassion.
Meanwhile, will the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Phoenix Suns anew on Wednesday and end a 50-year winless drought in the NBA Finals? It should. Otherwise, a Game 7 would give the Suns the momentum to wrap it up in Phoenix, and finally win its first title since it joined the NBA 53 years ago.