After winning prestigious tournament, Pinay Alex Eala aims higher

ABS-CBN Sports on Feb 19, 2018 09:28 AM
After winning prestigious tournament, Alex Eala aims higher
(Photo courtesy of Dyan Castillejos' Twitter account, @DYANCASTILLEJO)

Pinay tennis player Alex Eala is now aiming for a spot in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) World Juniors ranking weeks after stunning her opponents and winning the prestigious Les Petit 14 and Under European Championships in France several weeks ago.

As a wild card entry in the contest, Eala soared to the top by winning all six of her games and beating Czech Linda Nozkova in comeback fashion. 

The 13-year old stormed back from a one-set deficit and even trailed 3-5 in the third before coming up with the title.

Not even Eala could believe that she could beat some of the world's best young tennis players, let alone go the tournament final. 

"No, not at all like when I looked at the list sobrang daming gagaling na players, like the top of their country. I have seen them play before, they were really good I was actually expecting na mga hanggang quarters lang so ng nakarating ako ng finals grabe," she told ABS-CBN News' Dyan Castillejo in an interview.

Her father, Michael was very much elated with the win, with some spectators and opponents even wondering if the sport is big in the Philippines. 

Due to her impressive skill, Eala's opponents also thought that she trained abroad, but her grandfather and coach, Bob Maniego, politely ends that thought.

The thirteen-year old rises in the wee hours of the morning to go to the gym for her strength and conditioning training before going to school, where she serves as class president in Colegio San Agustin.

After school, Eala continues her grind by undergoing addtional training with her Lolo Bob.

Maniego and Eala's training have finally paid off, wherein the tennis prodigy started swinging rackets in international tournaments at eight years old. She now aims to join her brother, Miko, who is ranked in the ITF's Top 400 World Rankings.

For Alex, 2018 will become a better year as she has a chance to crack the ITF World Juniors' rankings as she was invited by the French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli himself as a wild card entry in the French Open Juniors Tennis Qualifiers in Paris in May, Eala's first ITF tournament.

With a report from Dyan Castillejo, ABS-CBN News.

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