Filipina athletes

The Future is Female: 5 Young Filipina Athletes Eager to Make Their Mark

Remember the names of these young talents, as they represent the future of women’s sports in the Philippines.

Filipinas have been ruling the Philippine sports scene for the last few years. Hidilyn Diaz’s historic Olympic gold medal, the Filipinas’ World Cup debut, Alex Eala’s first Grand Slam title — these major milestones only scratch the surface of how Filipina athletes have been bringing pride to the nation, and inspiring more young girls to follow in their steps.

As we celebrate International Women’s Month, The GAME is celebrating young Filipina athletes. Here are five rising stars who represent a bright future for Philippine sports.

Rianne Malixi
Young Filipina Athletes: Rianne Malixi
(Photo credit: Rianne Malixi on Instagram)

Rianne Malixi started swinging golf clubs when she was only six years old, taking after her dad, and it has led her to become a rising golf prodigy.

Turning 17 years old later this year, the Filipina has been making headlines over the past couple of years for her successes in the international amateur golf scene. In 2023, she notched a second-place finish at the US Girls Junior Amateur Championship, a top-four finish in the IMG Academy Junior World Championship, and consistently finished in the top 10 in global ranking tournaments. And even with these accomplishments, she wasn’t yet satisfied and is still aiming for even higher.

With big goals for herself, Malixi kicked off 2024 on a strong note, winning the Australian Master of the Amateurs Championship last January. Thanks to her string of impressive performances, she currently sits at 37th on the World Amateur Golf Rankings, and is set to attend Duke University, a school that boasts their seven-time National Champion women’s golf team.

Though it may be a few more years before this young talent turns pro, Rianne Malixi is already a Filipina athlete worth watching out for.

Alisha Del Campo
Young Filipina Athletes: Alisha Del Campo
(Photo credit: Alisha Del Campo on Instagram)

If you watched the Philippine Women’s National Football Team’s AFF Women’s Championship win in 2022 at Rizal Memorial, you may have noticed one player storming onto the field in crutches to celebrate with her teammates. That was Alisha Del Campo, and she is back with a vengeance.

A homegrown football talent, Alisha has been one of the most promising Filipina athletes. The forward made her national team debut in 2017 and since then, has earned her place on the squad. In the 2019 AFF Women’s Championship, for instance, she scored a hat-trick in the Philippines’ 4-0 victory over Singapore.

In the past couple of years, however, Alisha has struggled with two major injuries that prevented her from playing for some time. But, she has used this setback to fuel her passion for the sport all the more. This year, she is ready to get back in action, starting with the UAAP Season 86 women’s football tournament.

Alisha has an impressive history a De La Salle University player — a Season 81 Best Striker and Rookie of the Year Awardee, on top of being a UAAP champion — which has earned her the Pinay Futbolera of the Year Award in 2020.

Now that she’s back on the pitch, this Filipina athlete is surely eager to continue the momentum of women’s football in the Philippines.

Alyssa Solomon
Young Filipina Athletes: Alyssa Solomon
(Photo credit: UAAP Media)

Volleyball players are more than just athletes in the Philippines, they’re superstars. And among the next-generation talents set to take over the league is NU Lady Bulldog Alyssa Solomon.

Alyssa Solomon has grown up pretty much primed for a spot among the country’s top professionals. As early as high school, she was already being recognized with various individual awards in Palarong Pambansa and the UAAP girls’ volleyball tournament, including Best Opposite Spiker, Most Valuable Player, and Rookie of the Year. Now, she is one of the biggest talents in the UAAP women’s tournament.

In Season 84, Solomon was named the Best Opposite Spiker yet again, as she led the NU Lady Bulldogs to the UAAP championship and in the following season, she once again helped bring her team to the finals. This year, she is hungry to go far into the tournament once again, and has already been one of the leading forces in NU’s ongoing bid for another title.

While she is fighting for school pride, this Filipina athlete’s successes are cementing her place among the top prospects in the country, and the pro teams are surely paying attention.

Vanessa De Jesus
Gilas Women player Vanessa De Jesus
(Photo credit: Vanessa De Jesus on Instagram)

Vanessa De Jesus may have been born and raised in the United States, but ever since she started playing for the Gilas Women squad, she has been showcasing that she is just like any other Filipina athlete — she wants to win for the country.

When Vanessa made her debut in the FIBA Asia Cup Women’s tournament in 2023, she led the Philippines to its first win in Division A Group Play since 2015 and in three games, she averaged 18.3 points — and her speed and scoring skills were definitely noticed by the passionate Filipino basketball fans. In fact, after such a stellar debut, many fans were already picturing her in the WNBA.

Currently based in the United States, the young Filipina studies in Duke University, where she plays for the women’s basketball team, making consistent appearances. She has scored in double figures on multiple occasions, and though she is currently sitting out the rest of the 2023-24 season due to a knee injury, at just 22 years old, there is surely more to come from this youngster, especially as she dreams to go pro one day.

Angelu Gabriel
RP Blu Girls Angelu Gabriel
(Photo credit: UAAP Media)

Softball has been one of the unsung heroes of women’s sports in the Philippines. The Philippine Women’s National Softball Team, known as the Blu Girls, is one of the best teams in Southeast Asia, having won 10 Southeast Asian Games titles, and they have been fighting to impress on the world stage for some time.

Filipina player Angelu Gabriel is one of the sport’s youngsters whose talents could help push the team forward.

As a shortstop, arguably one of the most demanding positions on the pitch, Angelu Gabriel has not only impressed as a UAAP player for the Adamson softball team, but she has also impressed on the world stage. In fact, her performance at the last Softball World Cup in 2023 helped her squad reach the playoffs and even granted her a spot in the WBSC Top 10 Softball Plays of the Year.

Currently, Angelu is focusing her energy on the ongoing UAAP softball tournament playing for Adamson, a team that has won 15 UAAP titles in the last 17 years. As the team’s shortstop, the Filipina will be looking to hone her skills to continue her squad’s dominance, which will only push her even further for when she returns to the international stage with the Blu Girls.

Banner images from Alyssa Solomon, Duke Women’s Basketball, and Rianne Malixi on Instagram.

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