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Year in Review 2018: This was the year of the Pinay athlete

Editor's note: the ESPN5.com team looks back at 2018's top stories in local sports with our Year in Review series.

Filipina athletes continue to shine in the global stage, inspiring the next generation of national champions with their world-class performances.

This year, the strength of Pinay sports personalities was on full display as they dominated the Philippines' Asian Games campaign in Indonesia. All four of the national delegation's gold medals were captured by female athletes - two from golf, one from weightlifting, and one from skateboarding. Filipinas also took home one silver and eight bronzes for a total of 13 out of the country's 21-medal haul in the continental meet.

Even outside of the Asiad, women in Philippine sports showcased their indomitable spirit as they collected trophies, set records, and made an impact in their respective fields. Here are some of the top Pinay athletes of 2018:

Hidilyn Diaz (weightlifting)

Olympian Hidilyn Diaz delivered the Philippines' first gold medal in the 2018 Asian Games. She lifted a total of 207 kilograms (92 in snatch and 115 in clean and jerk) to outshine 11 other competitors in the women's 53-kilogram event. After this stellar achievement, the Philippine Air Force promoted the Zamboanga native from Airwoman First Class to Airwoman Sergeant.

The 27-year-old weightlifter sets her eyes on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, hoping to surpass her silver medal feat in the Rio edition two years ago. To start her qualification bid, Diaz earned an eleventh-place finish in the 2018 International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championship in Turkmenistan. She needs to place in the world's top 56 at the end of a two-year qualification period to book a return trip to the Olympic stage.

Margielyn Didal (skateboarding)

Margielyn Didal made waves in Palembang as she reigned supreme in the first-ever women's street skateboarding event in the Asian Games. The Cebuana sensation stamped her class and wowed the crowd by topping the first two runs and flawlessly executing her tricks. Before striking gold in Palembang, she participated in the X Games in Minneapolis, becoming the first athlete from the Philippines to be invited.

The 19-year-old made it to TIME's 25 Most Influential Teens of 2018, together with fellow young athletes Chloe Kim (snowboarding) and Kylian Mbappe (football). Didal hopes to skate her way to the 2020 Tokyo Games where skateboarding will be making its Olympic debut.

Yuka Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan, Lois Kaye Go (golf)

Yuka Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan, and Lois Kaye Go made history by bringing home the Philippines' first team competition gold medal in Asiad golf. Saso, 17, conquered the individual competition on top of the team event, earning her a pair of golds in the quadrennial meet. Pagdanganan, 21, also became a double medalist as she clinched the bronze in women's individual.

The Filipino-Japanese Saso almost took home another medal when she competed in the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics in Argentina, but a three-way playoff with Italy and Austria after the final round bumped her out of the podium.

Meggie Ochoa (jiu-jitsu)

Meggie Ochoa became the first Asian to emerge on top of the jiu-jitsu world stage. The Filipino-Brazilian ruled the 49-kilogram category in the 2018 Jujutsu World Championships in Sweden after outclassing Canada's Ni Ni Vicky Hoang (2-0) in the final.

Earlier in the year, Ochoa also secured a bronze medal in the Asian Games in Indonesia and a gold medal in the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Jiu-Jitsu World Tour in London. Outside of the mat, the 28-year-old champions the "Fight to Protect" movement, an advocacy that aims to protect children against sexual abuse.

Kiyomi Watanabe (judo)

Kiyomi Watanabe copped a silver medal in her Asian Games debut. The Filipino-Japanese bowed down to Japanese rival Nami Nabekura to settle for a runner-up finish in the under 63-kilogram division.

The reigning three-time Southeast Asian Games champion also clinched a bronze medal in the 2018 International Judo Federation (IJF) Grand Slam in Germany. Watanabe improved to world's number 13 in her weight class after ranking 21st at the end of last year.

Philippine Blu Girls (softball)

The Blu Girls finished fourth in the softball competition of the 2018 Asian Games. Despite a promising 4-1 start, they failed to make it to the podium after closing out their bid with back-to-back losses to Chinese Taipei. Right before the Asiad, the national softball team participated in the XVI Women's Softball World Championship in Japan, toppling South Africa and Netherlands before landing in 14th place with a 2-4 win-loss record.

These international performances catapulted the Blu Girls to number 13 in the world, moving two notches higher from the previous World Baseball Softball Confederation (WSBC) ranking.

Dottie Ardina (golf)

Dottie Ardina secured a full card for the 2019 Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour after a dominant showing in the 2018 Symetra Tour. Throughout the year, Ardina consistently displayed her fine form as she landed in the top three of six events, including five runner-up finishes. The 24-year-old was the first golfer who gained full membership in next season's LPGA after previously competing on conditional status.

The Malditas (football)

2018 was a productive year for the national women's football team, also known as the Malditas. The team finished sixth in the AFC Asian Women's Cup, falling just short of qualifying for the Women's World Cup. Our lady booters also advanced to the second round of the Asian Qualifiers for the 2020 Olympics, beating Singapore, Tajikistan and Mongolia along the way.

NU Lady Bulldogs (basketball)

The National University Lady Bulldogs remained invincible in the UAAP women's basketball tournament, extending their winning run to 80-0 en route to a fifth straight championship. They broke the all-time league record of 73 consecutive wins previously set by the Adamson women's softball team. Coach Pat Aquino and his squad are gearing up to break the longest collegiate basketball streak of 111 games that the University of Connecticut Huskies recorded from 2014 to 2017. They need to sweep the next two seasons to reach this unprecedented milestone.

Carina Dayondon (mountaineering)

Carina Dayondon became the first Filipina to conquer the "Seven Summits" or the highest peak in each of the seven continents. She successfully climbed Mt. Vinson in Antarctica on December 16 to complete the tough and challenging journey. The elite mountaineer was one of the first three Pinays who reached the summit of Mt. Everest, the highest mountain in the world, back in 2007. She also climbed North America's Mt. Denali in 2006, Europe's Mt. Elbrus in 2013, Australia's Mt. Kosciuszko in 2014, Africa's Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2015, and South America's Mt. Aconcagua early this year. Dayondon joins Romi Garduce as the only Filipinos who have accomplished this mountaineering feat.