By Jean Malanum

TOP ACHIEVER. Members of the Philippine team celebrate their 1-0 victory over New Zealand in Group A of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Wellington, New Zealand on July 25, 2023. The Philippine Sportswriters Association picked the Filipinas as the top achiever for July. (Contributed photo)

MANILA – The Philippine national women’s football team and 2024 Paris Olympics qualifier Ernest John “EJ” Obiena are the top two achievers in the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) list for July.

Known as the Filipinas in the football world, the team, bannered by Fil-foreign players, made history by qualifying in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup and eventually scoring the Philippines’ first goal against co-host New Zealand in the sport’s biggest event.

After losing their first match against Switzerland, 0-2, at the Dunedin Stadium on July 21, the Filipinas stunned New Zealand, 1-0, in Wellington on July 25.

California-born Sarina Bolden’s goal came in the 24th minute off a header that Kiwi goalie Victoria Esson failed to deflect.

The Philippines fought hard against former champion Norway, which prevailed, 6-0, at Eden Park in Auckland.

Meanwhile, pole vault star Obiena is the PSA’s second-best achiever for July after registering 5.82 meters during the Diamond League-Bauhaus Galan in Sweden on July 3 to become the first Filipino to qualify in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The 27-year-old claimed victory in the Asian Championships in Thailand, setting a continental record of 5.91m.

In the Monaco leg of the Diamond League in Monte Carlo, he posted 5.82m to finish second behind American Christopher Nilsen (5.92m).

Filipino athletes in billiards, bowling and softball also performed well.

Johann Chua and James Aranas downed Germans Joshua Filler and Moritz Neuhausen, 11-7, to win the World Cup of Pool 9-Ball Championship. It was the country’s fourth time ruling the competition.

The Philippine bowling team bagged two gold medals in the 21st Asian Youth Tenpin Bowling Championships in Bangkok, Thailand courtesy of Art Barrientos in the boys’ masters and the boys’ team of Barrientos, Zach Sales Ramin, Stephen Luke Diwa, and Marc Dylan Custodio. The Filipinos were crowned overall champion in the boy’s division.

Team Manila ruled the Pony International World Series via an eight-game sweep of the 18-Under girls’ tournament at the McAllen Softball Complex in Texas. (PNA)