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Eala shines in September

In a month brimming with outstanding triumphs by Filipino athletes overseas, tennis star Alex Eala’s accomplishment at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows New York on 10 September was heads and shoulders above the rest.

Without dropping a set, Eala captured the 142nd US Open junior girls singles championship, capping her remarkable run with a rousing 6-2, 6-4 victory over Czech Lucie Havlickova in the finals of the blue-ribbon tournament.

In her latest milestone, the pretty southpaw became the first Filipino player to bag a junior singles grand slam crown, adding to her glittering haul after clinching the 2019 Australian Open and 2021 French Open junior doubles girls’ plums, respectively, with different partners.

Halfway around the globe a day later, the powerhouse troika of Rubilen Amit, Carlo Biado and Johann Chua also made sports history in securing the Predator World 10-Ball Teams Championship in Klagenfurt, Austria with a 3-0 shutout of a crack British squad.

In the race-to-four sets series, Amit started the Philippine juggernaut rolling in nipping The World Games women’s 9-ball champion Kelly Fisher 4-3, with Biado sustaining the momentum with a 4-3 thriller over veteran Jayson Shaw.

Amit and Johann Chua completed the whitewash win with a 3-0 lacing of Fisher and Darren Appleton, a former world 9-ball and 10-ball champion, in the mixed doubles finale.

Pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena shared the limelight in securing his first win in the prestigious Wanda Diamond League series, ruling the Allianz Memorial Van Damme meet with a jump of 5.91 meters in front of a banner crowd at King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels, Belgium.

The sweet triumph came at the expense of top Swedish favorite Armand Duplantis, the reigning world and Olympic champion, who was relegated to runner-up honors with a lackluster jump of 5.81 meters for his first and only loss of the European outdoor season.

Another local cue ace, Chezka Centeno, was also in the headlines with her gutsy come-from-behind 11-7 win over South Korean Seo Seoa in pocketing the APF Asian 9-ball women’s crown at the Aspire Recreation Centre in Singapore.

Centeno dug herself out of a 0-4 hole from the fifth frame onwards in clinching nine of the next 10 racks on the way to adding another feather to her cap.

On the local front, the San Miguel Beermen reclaimed the Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup championship with a masterful 119-97 conquest of the TNT Tropang Giga in the do-or-die Game 7 of the finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The charges of coach Leo Austria ended their three-year title drought since bagging the PBA Commissioner’s Cup in 2019 on top of securing the crown in the conference they had monopolized five years in a row since 2014.

The month also began with the first day of office on 1 September of former sportscaster and PBA commissioner Noli Eala as the appointed chairman of Philippine Sports Commission under the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

Eala vowed to take care of the athletes “like no other” during his term as the head of the government sports agency.

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