EDITORIAL: Alex Eala and the pride in one’s language

Another sports heroine has made the country proud.

Alex Eala, all of 17 years old, brought the Philippines to the summit of tennis greatness after she won the US Open Girls tennis title on Sunday morning.

The Pinay teen tennis phenom took down No. 2 seed Lucie Havlickova of the Czech Republic, 6-2, 6-4, in the finals at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. On her way to becoming the first Filipino to win a Grand Slam singles title, Eala did not drop a single set.

Eala joins elite bunch of Filipino women athletes who have brought significant triumphs in recent times. We begin with Hdilyn Diaz who won the first Olympic gold for the country last year, Yuka Saso who won the US Open Women’s Golf title in 2021, the Philippine Women’s Football Team who made it to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup and won the Asian Football Federation title last month.

It sure eased the pain of losing our very own former Asia’s sprint queen Lydia de Vega who died last July.

What made Eala stand out is the way she handled the victory and her emphatic display of national pride. Two weeks after the country celebrated the annual “Buwan ng Wika” or National Language Month, the Rafael Nadal Tennis Academy standout delivered a victory address in Filipino which we believe should be immortalised in our history.

She uttered these words:

“Unang-una gusto kong magpasalamat sa pamilya ko. Kasi, kung di para sa kanila, hindi ko talaga ito kakayanin. Maraming salamat din sa lahat ng nagdasal at nagsuporta sa akin. Sa aking mga sponsors…….sa aking team, at Rafael Nadal Academy…maraming, maraming salamat po!

“Buong puso ko itong ipinaglaban hindi lang para sa sarili ko kundi para makatulong din ako sa kinabukasan ng Philippine tennis.

“So, hindi lang ito panalo ko. Panalo natin itong lahat.”

In our book, Eala just wiped out all victory speeches delivered by a Filipino athlete. It could even eclipse winning lines by our Miss Universe titleholders.

For standing up proudly when asked to speak before a global audience, Eala deserves out highest respect and admiration.

Mabuhay ka, Alex!

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