MANILA, Philippines -- Their bid for a 10th straight UAAP softball title may have been scuppered by the novel coronavirus pandemic, but the Adamson University Lady Falcons continue to make iconic coach Ana Santiago proud with their efforts away from the field.
The Lady Falcons' campaign in Season 82 did not even get started, as the season was cancelled because of the health crisis before they opened their schedule.
"Noong na-cancel talaga ang UAAP, masasabi natin na heartbreaking talaga siya para sa amin," admitted Santiago, the architect of Adamson's dominant softball program, during an appearance on the "So She Did" podcast.
But rather than dwell on their disappointment, the Lady Falcons instead made good use of their time while stranded in their dormitories because of the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila.
When the university came calling, they were ready to help.
"Noong nagsabi 'yung Adamson na magbibigay sila sa mga community ng something para makatulong, nag-volunteer kami na kami na lang 'yung magre-repack, magpe-prepare, then some of us na pwedeng sumama mag-deliver," Santiago recalled.
"Doon na umikot 'yung time namin habang naka-lockdown kami sa Adamson. Even me, nandoon rin eh," she said. "Inabot kami (ng lockdown)."
The Lady Falcons helped out in the Vincentian priests' Charity Over Virus Indifference and Despair (COVID) and Facemasks Cover Your Face Not Your Hearts program. They joined the many UAAP athletes who stepped up in the fight against the pandemic.
For Santiago, it was just one more reason to be proud of her team, which has delivered nine consecutive titles to Adamson and produced several national team players.
"Ang sarap sa pakiramdam habang ginagawa namin siya, especially noong pumunta ng PGH (Philippine General Hospital), naghatid para sa mga frontliners natin," she said. "Talagang napakasarap sa pakiramdam."
Still, the cancellation of their title defense was painful for the Lady Falcons, and Santiago made sure talk to her team to console them.
"Wala na rin naman tayong magagawa," she said. "Nangyari na 'to, hindi naman natin 'to ine-expect eh. Wala namang nage-expect na mangyayari 'to, 'di ba?"
"So ang kailangan lang natin ay i-adapt na lang kung ano ang kailangan, ang nasa harap natin ngayon, kung ano man ang situation. And along the way, masasanay din tayo," she added. "Ang kailangan lang is always positive lang."
"Matatapos din itong lahat," she said. "Isang araw, makakabalik ulit tayong lahat sa field na nami-miss namin."
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