ELOISA Collo, who hails from the Digos City, is ready to rock the courts.
Yes, even those at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila where the 2010 Commission on Higher Education (Ched) National Games will be held on Feb. 22 to 28.
The 18-year-old Brokenshire College netter will form part of the Southern Mindanao women's lawn tennis team that is also composed of her teammate Leila Enriquez and University of Mindanao (UM) varsity players Ricah Ibarrientos, Jessica Lucas and Mary Mae Ybañez.
El-el, as she is fondly called, "I've been busy with my studies but I still find time for our training. I just need to manage my time well since the Games is coming up. My teammates and I hope to win a medal again for the region. I just pray God will be on our side."
The five-foot-five youngest child of Rudy, a retired employee, and Helen, a government employee, is expected to lead the charge with her impressive junior tennis record.
She bagged the girls 18-under title of the Philippine Tennis Association (Philta) Age-Group Championships last year in Davao City following her sterling sweep of the 16-under and 18-under crowns during the Mayor Latasa Age-Group Championships in Digos City in 2008.
El-El also emerged 14-under champion in the 2004 Milo Tournament in Cagayan de Oro City and 12-under champion in the 2003 Philta Age-Group in Cebu City.
She settled for the runner-up honors in 16-under and 18-under events of the 2007 Prince Age-Group Tournament also in Cebu.
This sophomore Hotel and Restaurant Management (HRM) student started playing the sport at age 12.
"My family encouraged me to try it with my uncle as my first coach. It was difficult at first but when I got used to playing tennis, I found it to be very enjoyable," she told this writer.
She then tried her beginner's luck at a competition in Banaybanay, Davao Oriental. And viola! She did go home with the 12-under champion's trophy.
And so El-El competed from one tournament after another, started making a name for herself and earning a reputation of being a force to reckon with. She was even ranked No. 4 nationwide in the girls 12-under category.
She shared, "The most memorable experience for me was those difficult times I spent in training, having to endure the scorching heat of the sun while playing in tournaments and going home with an achievement to share with my family."
But she also experienced a handful of losses including a fourth-place finish in the 2005 Palarong Pambansa.
"I'm not a hard loser though. I just take each loss as a challenge for me to train harder. When I do win, it is a reminder for me to be humble. But I remember to have cried after a loss and it was shameful," she said.
She claimed to be a great fan of tennis greats Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Justin Henin and Martina Hingis.
She went on saying, "They're very good players. They have confidence. They are very focused on their games and you can see they are so inspired to play."
El-El dreams of being a professional tennis player and work at a luxurious hotel someday.