SEVENTEEN-year-old tennis sensation Alexandra “Alex” Eala has joined the ever-expanding list of role models for our youths after emerging last weekend as the first Filipino ever to become a junior Grand Slam singles champion at the United States (US) Open, according to Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte.
“We salute Alex for bringing great pride to our nation and proving anew the world-class talents of the Filipino in sports and other fields of endeavor, after winning her first singles Grand Slam title in the US Open Juniors tournament at the Billie Jean King Center in New York,” Villafuerte, the president of the National Unity Party (NUP), said.
“What has made our tennis prodigy’s weekend victory truly exceptional,” said Villafuerte, “was that she spoke in Filipino during the awarding ceremony and offered her singles trophy to Philippine tennis and to all her fellow Filipinos.”
Like Filipino pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena, whose recent string of victories in the track-and-field event was highlighted this September by his upset victory over the World’s No. 1 and Olympic champion Armand Gustav “Mondo” Duplantis, Villafuerte said Eala’s Grand Slam win was “yet another testament to the Filipino’s stature as among the best on the global stage.”
Villafuerte at the same time reiterated his call for full national and government support for the National Sports Academy (NSA) as a way to discover, train and produce more Filipino athletes with world-class skills who can excel in various fields of sports, such as Eala; Obiena; Olympic champion Hidilyn Diaz in weightlifting; and former eight-division world champion and former Sen. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao and Olympic silver medalists Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco, Nesty Petacio and Carlo Paalam, and bronze medalist Eumir Marcial, all in boxing.
Other Filipino sports greats include six-time world champion Rafael “Paeng” Nepomuceno in bowling, nine-ball and eight-ball world champion Efren “Bata” Reyes in billiards, and the late Asian queen Lydia de Vega in track and field.
Villafuerte was principal author in the House of Republic Act (RA) 11470 that established in 2020 the NSA, which now has a campus at the New Clark City (NCC) in Capas, Tarlac that is supervised by the Department of Education (DepEd).
In a still unnumbered House Resolution (HR), Villafuerte and three co-authors from CamSur said Eala “sealed her place in history when she became the very first Filipino to win a Grand Slam singles championship.”
“We commend and congratulate Eala for winning the 2022 US Open Girls’ Singles title at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, New York, bringing another prestige to the Philippines and exhibitin how Filipinos can compete even in the international level through their world-class talent,” said Villafuerte and his resolution co-authors CamSur Rep. Miguel Luis Villafuerte and Tsuyoshi Anthony Horibata Horibata and Bicol Saro Rep. Nicolas Enciso VIII.
They noted in their resolution that the only other Filipino with a Grand Slam championship is Francis Casey Alcantara, who won the Australian Open boys’ doubles title in 2009.
“On the professional level, Eala also made history last month when she became the highest ranked Filipino on the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour at No. 280, surpassing the No. 284 rank of Maricris Fernandez-Gentz achieved in 1999,” the CamSur solons said.