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Eala wants national team return

PHOTOGRAPH courtesy of ALEX EALA/IG ALEX Eala is determined to keep on playing for the national team in major international events.

Whatever happens, Alex Eala will play for the national team in major international events.

The 18-year-old Eala said the change of leadership in the Philippine Tennis Association hardly affects her decision to represent the country in major events like the Southeast Asian Games and the Asian Games.

After getting slapped with a three-year suspension by the International Tennis Federation for having exclusive membership and without regional representation, the Philta finally got its acts together and held an election supervised by the Philippine Olympic Committee.

Parañaque City Mayor Eric Olivarez clinched the presidency with Olongapo City Mayor Rolen Paulino as vice president, Navotas City Vice Mayor John Rey Tiangco as secretary general, Gerardo Alcala of Calabarzon as treasurer, Theodore Jose Matta of Mimaropa as internal auditor.

POC president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said they will report the outcome of the election to the ITF for the immediate lifting of the Philta suspension.

Despite the dawn of a new era in the federation, Eala is hardly bothered as her main focus is to continue bringing pride and glory to the country.

“Representing the country is a real honor for me,” Eala, who ranks a career-high 189 in the latest Women’s Tennis Association ranking, said in a message to Daily Tribune.

“Despite the pause in the federation, I have still been a member of the national team competing on multiple occasions. With the SEA Games and Asian Games combined, I have contributed five medals to the country.”

True enough, Eala is one of the most decorated Filipino tennis players in the international arena.

This year, she bagged a pair of bronze medals in the women’s singles and mixed doubles events of the 19th Asian Games, becoming the first Filipino to land a podium finish in the prestigious continental conclave since Cecil Mamiit in 2006 in Doha.

She also became the first Filipina to win an Asian Games medal since Desideria Ampon and Patricia Yngayo clinched a medal in the women’s doubles event of the Tokyo Asian Games in 1958.

All in all, Eala already has five bronze medals for the country with three coming from the SEA Games.

By next year, neither the SEA Games nor the Asian Games will be played so Eala is expected to turn her focus on seeing action in all four Grand Slam events — the Australian Open, the French Open, the Wimbledon and the US Open.

No Filipino has ever competed in all four major events in the same year with Mamiit only competing in the Australian Open, the Wimbledon and the US Open in 1999 and the great Felicisimo Ampon seeing action only in the French Open and the US Open in 1952.

Eala said she will work hard to advance to the main draws of these Grand Slam events as a way of making the country proud.

“Additionally, I also carry the country’s flag on my back in individual tournaments as well,” she said.


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