'Playing with heart’ was the evident mark of the Philippines’ Softball team as they struck it to the Championship game last August 6-11 of the Big League Softball World Series in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Coach Ana Marie Santiago enthused, “Hindi puro lakas ng katawan lang ang ginagamit sa paglalaro, kundi kung ano ang sinasabi ng ating puso.” These no-nonsense words of motivation kept the team focused on a clear direction.
This same motivational tactic and style was used by the coach when her players faced their Asian rivals during the Asia Pacific Qualifying Tournament last July 4-14 in Guangzhou, China. “Kung ayaw niyo nang lumaban, sabihin niyo lang. Madaling umayaw. Ano, lalaban pa ba kayo o hindi na?” That was a most effective way to regain their focus every time the team seemed to be losing their spirit and will to win. Team captain Mary Chris Gidalanon remarked, “Kapag sinasabi na ‘yon ng coach namin, nakakapuntos kami kaagad”.
The most memorable moment for the team was the championship battle with the Central squad of Grand Rapids, Michigan (the event host). On the fifth inning, the Asia-Pacific representative successfully scored the first points, but the last inning was a close match that the Central tied with them at 1-1. The fight was extended until the 9th inning where the Central dominated their winning field in the score of 2-1 by homerun.
“Although our team got only the second place, I’m still proud of them. We never gave up until the last bat.” coach Santiago proudly said.
Team Philippines of Manila who represented the Asia-Pacific in the Big League Softball World Series 2008 was composed mainly of Adamsonians: Marissa Dela Cruz, Felixwinda Custodio, Marjory Respondo, Mary Chris Gidalanon, Anavic Jugos, Maricar Barrientos, Melanie Laserna, Yrrla Jean Rojo, Harlyn Joy Tubongbanua, Elna Parohinog, Genalyn Rose Ytario, Erica Escanuela, Elma Parohinog, and Nina Jenny Pangilinan. Together with manager Filomeno Codinera, head coach Ana Maria Santiago, and Asst. Coach, Sheirylou Valenzuela, the team is expected to bring more golds to Adamson University as they prepare for the UAAP Season 21st in Softball competition this coming January 2009. Valerie G. Espiritu and Richard Domingo