by Tanya Jamon-Navarro
Filipinas have always exemplified a simple yet inner strength that can withstand any trials. These Filipina athletes have shown to the world that Pinays do not only have the emotional strength but also the physical strength to be the best in their field.
Ana Julaton (Professional Boxing)
Filipino-American Ana ‘The Hurricane’ Julaton was born in San Franciso, California. She is the first Fil-Am boxer to win the IBA and WBO women’s junior featherweight championship in 2009 with only 8 fights in her professional career. During her amateur boxing career, she won silver in the San Franciso Golden Gloves in 2004. By 2007, she was ranked as the Top 2 best amateur boxer in the US. She joined the camp of Freddie Roach and turned pro in 2008. She won consecutive fights, eventually leading to her biggest win against Kelsey Jeffries in September 2009 for the International Boxing Association super bantam weight title. She also snatched the World Boxing Organization Super Bantamweight championship belt against Donna Biggers later that year.
Julaton also signed up with one of the biggest mixed martial arts organizations in Asia and is set to fight in the Philippines on May 2 in the event ONE Fighting Cahmpionship’s “Rise of the Heroes”.
Rubilen Amit (Billiards)
In the world of billiards, Rubilen Amit has made the country proud by winning three different titles in 2013. She won the prestigious Women’s World 10 Ball against legendary player Kelly Fisher at the Resort’s World Manila. She also won with Team Asia in the inaugural Queen’s Cup with fellow players Chen Si Ming from China, Ga Young Kim from Korean and Penny Tsai from Taipei. She also scored the gold medal in the 10 Ball Competition in the Southeast Asian Games.
Jovelyn Gonzaga (Volleyball)
Standing at 5’8”, statuesque volleyball player Jovelyn Gonzaga is the Shakey’s V-League Most Valuable Player in 2013. She averaged over twenty points each game and was among the top five in five different statistical categories. Aside from her outstanding record, she is also one of the youngest players in the powerhouse Philippine Army volleyball squad. Gonzaga is a product of the Central Philippine University (CPU) in IloIlo and was part of the national beach volleyball team that played in Russia last year. She went home with the Best Attacker award, which is given to the player who has the most proficient attacks in the game in terms of percentage.
Josie Gabuco (Amateur Boxing)
Amateur boxing champion Josie Gabuco won the gold medal in the 2013 Southeast Asian Games after winning in the Junior Flyweight division in Myanmar. She posted a score of 40-36, 40-36 and 36-38 over Beatrix Suguro of Indonesia. Because of her win, the Philippines landed fourth in the overall medals in last year’s SEA Games.
Manila Women’s Softball Team (Softball)
In 2012, the Manila Women’s Softball Team made a mark in sports history when they won the championship title in the Big League Softball World Series held in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
The team consisted of university varsity members from Adamson University, University of Santo Tomas, University of the East and Polytechnic University of the Philippines. The team defeated international players from California with a score of 14-2.
Allysa Valdez (Volleyball)
The Ateneo Blue Eagles volleybelle Alyssa Valdez brought her team to the championships in the UAAP Season ‘76 Women’s Volleyball tournament. Valdez was the league’s top scorer during the eliminations. In the battle for the Final Four, she continued to show her superior athletic form and performance which led her team to match up with their legendary foe, the defending champion and thrice to beat, La Salle Lady Spikers. On top of her MVP award, she also took home the Best Scorer and Best Server awards of the season.
Jan Jodilyn Fronda (Chess)
The UAAP ‘76 Women’s Chess ‘four-peat champion’ and De La Salle’s chess sensation, Jan Jodilyn Fronda, has not only given glory to her school but to the country as well. The 20-year old Fronda took the 28th place in the 2013 World Junior Chess Championship in Kocaeli, Turkey and has also played in the ASEAN Age-Group championship in Thailand. She was also awarded the Athlete of the Year title in the UAAP Season 76.
Camille Sambile (Basketball)
Basketball ace Camille Sambile from the Far Eastern University has been a dominant figure in the women’s basketball tourney of the UAAP Season ‘76. She tallied 81.3571 statistical points and averaged 19.7 points, 11.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 3.9 steals and 1.6 blocks for the Lady Tamaraws. She is also part of the Women’s Basketball National Team, Perlas ng Pilipinas. She was awarded the Athlete of the Year honors alongside Jan Jodilyn Fronda in the UAAP Season ‘76.