SPORT is one of the world’s universal languages: discussions on favorite teams can unite entire cities, and support for local athletes can be marshaled from even the remotest corners of the globe. There is no better example of this than our own country: where a sports star’s successful entry onto the global stage ignites the utmost Filipino pride, hope, and joy.
The pandemic challenges thrown at us in 2020 could not dampen the spirits of Fiipino athletes who continued to compete in the world stage. Their non-stop hard work, dedication, and passion have come to fruition early in 2021—marking our return to the global arena as a force to be reckoned with.
The Filipino Tennis Ace
Women’s pro tennis player Alex Eala’s star continues to rise as she recently joined the world Top 700 as she blazes through the ITF Women’s World Tour. Now ranked globally at 660, the talented southpaw won her first International Tennis Federation singles match earlier in January this year and participated as a wildcard player in the Miami Open qualifiers.
A Force to be Reckoned With
Basketball is known as the Philippines’ unofficial national sport so it comes as no surprise Filipino basketball fans have waited with bated breath for the International Basketball Federation’s Doha Masters.
Representing the Philippines in the FIBA 3×3 in Doha, Qatar were Manila Chooks TM 3×3 Team composed of players Chico Lanete, Mac Tallo, Dennis Santos, and Zachy Huang. The team finished with a record of 1-2 in the qualifying competition, but unfortunately did not make it to the draw. According to Chico Lanete, their experience of having previously played together, as well as their expert speed and shooting, are their advantages. Their dedication to their sport and their will to win will carry them through many more exciting competitions.
Winning Breed of MMA Fighters
Jackie Buntan picked up a convincing unanimous decision victory in her ONE Championship debut last February 26 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. The California-born FIlipino fighter won against Wondergirl Fairtex as she used her fast, quick, and accurate combinations skills and also brought her Thai opponent down.
Buntan is not the only Pinay making waves in the ONE Championship community, Team Lakay’s Jenelyn Olsim made a huge debut in ONE Championship by winning her first match against top-ranked Brazilian Maira Mazar last March 19. The Filipina mixed martial arts fighter won over fans as she tapped out the no.5-ranked strawweight Maira Mazar of Brazil in the third round of their MMA battle.
Team Lakay’s Eduard “Landslide” Folayang, who boxing legend Manny Pacquiao called “one of the legends of mixed martial arts”, lives to face his next opponent in the MMA cage. His recent fight last April 29 on ONE on TNT IV with Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki was a close match. He fought hard in the opening stages and defended well but the Tokyo native had more grapples up his sleeve as he was able to hook Folayang’s left arm which he spun off for an armbar. The move elicited a swift tap from the Team Lakay athlete at 4:20 of the first frame.
Despite his loss, Folayang still has 22 wins under his belt apart from the bronze and silver medals he won for wushu in the Asian Games, SEA Games, and in the World Wushu Championship.
‘The Truth’ is coming soon in May
May is looking to be an explosive one with exciting fights to watch out for. Happening on May 15, Saturday at 6pm is ONE: Dangal as ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon “The Truth” Vera defends his belt against surging contender Arjan “Singh” Bhullar.
Filipino-American Vera has been the longtime champion of ONE Championship’s heavyweight division. Since making his debut in 2014, he has successfully defeated every heavyweight he has gone head-to-head with, even knocking them out in the first round. Singh hopes to break Vera’s streak and become the first-ever Indian World Champion in mixed martial arts.
Meanwhile Denice “The Menace” Zamboanga continues to be an undefeated champ in MMA. The top-ranked women’s atomweight has an upcoming fight you can watch via the ONE Super app on May 28 for the ONE Atomweight Grand Prix on ONE: Empower which promises to be one for the books as she defends her title against South Korean veteran Seo Hee Ham. Whoever wins gets to challenge the reigning ONE Women’s atomweight world champion Angela Lee late this year.
“We continue to cheer on for our Filipino athletes who compete on the global stage,” said Chelo Flores, Head, Video and Music Squad at Globe Telecom. “Through the ONE Super App, Globe subscribers can enjoy the full sports experience and watch our mixed martial arts athletes bring home the gold in any competition they are part of anywhere in the world.” Viewers can catch Team Lakay and other Filipino athletes in coming fights exclusively on the ONE Super app, best enjoyed with Globe Prepaid’s Go50 offer.
Filipinos share an undeniable love for sports, whether it’s mainstream favorites like basketball or more niche competitive games like tennis or MMA. While 2021 might still seem uncertain, this year is starting to become a very promising one for Filipino athletes and sports fans alike. Despite the pandemic, our athletes have continued to soldier on and have brought pride to all Filpinos. Through Globe, sports fans are able to keep track of all their games so they can continue to cheer on even during these difficult times.