Pinoy pride! Young Filipino athletes who bring pride to PH on int'l scene

Published June 9, 2021, 10:14 PM

by Carlo Anolin

Nineteen-year-old Filipina golfer Yuka Saso became the talk of the town after her victorious campaign in the 76th US Women’s Open.

The Filipino-Japanese Saso made history by becoming the first local player to win a major golf tournament, not to mention the US Women’s Open.

Yuka Saso

The San Ildefonso, Bulacan native also earned a five-year membership en route to the LPGA Tour.

Just like Saso, the Philippine sports scene has a bright future ahead as many youngsters continue to shine on the international scene.

READ: WATCH: Yuka Saso’s wholesome reaction after earning LPGA Tour membership

Get to know them as the Manila Bulletin prepares a list for these young stars:

Margielyn Didal – Skateboarding – 22

Margielyn Didal

Didal was the latest Filipino to book a ticket to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics after settling for a semifinal finish in the 2021 Street Skateboarding World Championships in Rome, Italy.

Last month, Didal, a 2019 Southeast Asian Games double gold medalist, also finished 12th pace overall with a semifinal appearance in the 2021 Dew Tour Des Moines in Iowa.

Didal was hailed as the inaugural 2020 Asia Skater of the Year and was also part of TIME Magazine’s “25 Most Influential Teens of 2018.”

Jack Animam – Basketball – 22

Jack Animam

Animam, the National University Lady Bulldogs superstar, took her act to the United States after a successful stint with the Shih Hsin University in Taiwan’s University Basketball Association (UBA).

Animam led SHU in 18 undefeated games en route to the championship.

READ: Animam reflects after Taiwan stint: Goal is to be champion again

Known as one of Gilas Women’s mainstays, Animam was a double gold medalist in the 2019 SEA Games — playing both for the 3×3 and 5-on-5 events.

Carlos Yulo – Gymnastics – 21

Carlos Yulo

Already qualified for the Olympics, Yulo continues his preparation for the quadrennial meet as he captured bronze medal in parallel bars of the 2021 All-Japan Apparatus Championships at the Takasaki Arena over the weekend.

Late last year, Yulo also bagged bronze medals in the 74th All-Japan Gymnastics Championships and the 2020 All-Japan Senior Gymnastics Championships.

Kai Sotto – Basketball – 19

Kai Sotto

Sotto has been on a rollercoaster of a ride as far as his NBA journey is concerned.

After failing to suit up for the NBA G League, the 7-foot-3 center signed with the Adelaide 36ers of Australia’s National Basketball League.

Sotto is set to help Gilas Pilipinas in its campaign in the third window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers from June 16 to 20 in a bubble setup in Clark, Pampanga.

Jhanlo Sangiao – MMA – 18

Jhanlo Sangiao

Jhanlo, the son of Philippine martial arts legend and Team Lakay patriarch Mark Sangiao, recently signed with Singapore-based promotion ONE Championship.

With an unblemished 3-0 record at hand, the younger Sangiao will be tested as he tries to compete with global MMA stars in ONE.

Jhanlo, the youngest Team Lakay to join ONE, is expected to showcase the talent of the team’s “new generation.”

READ: Jhanlo Sangiao wants to be a future MMA legend

Julian Macaraeg – Speed skating – 18

Julian Macaraeg

Macaraeg may have failed to put himself on the top of the 2021 World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Dordrecht, Netherlands but joining the tournament alone was a feat itself.

He was the lone Filipino and one of the only two athletes from tropical countries in the field alongside India’s Akash Aradhya to compete in the world championships.

READ: Macaraeg hopes to bring spotlight to speed skating in PH; Macaraeg eyes 2022 Winter Olympic berth

One of his past achievements was becoming the first Filipino short track speed skater to join in the 2020 Lausanne Winter Youth Olympics.

Alex Eala – Tennis – 16

Alex Eala

Eala continues to hone her skills by joining back-to-back tournaments overseas.

As of posting time, Eala, together with Russian partner Oksana Selekhmeteva, advanced to the quarterfinal of the Roland Garros Girls Doubles.

Both Eala and Selekhmeteva are on a mission to bag their second Grand Slam Junior Doubles crown.

In the singles division, the Filipina tennis prodigy, unfortunately, crashed out of contention early in the first round.

Currently at No. 3 in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) junior rankings, Eala had her biggest break yet when she won the ITF W15 Manacor to capture her first women’s pro title in late January.

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