Panes: Softball’s Rolling Stones-A A +A
By Joel Panes
Monday, October 28, 2013
THE Cebuana Lhuilier–ASAPHIL National Intercollegiate Softball Championship, which commenced last October 20 at the Marikina’s Sto. Nino grounds featured 12 top collegiate teams nationwide including 7 UAAP and 4 SCUAA member schools.
Now on its championship round as of this writing, Adamson University, last year’s UAAP defending champions topped the semi-final round after dashing National University’s hopes for a shot at the intercollegiate title during the semifinal cross over matches.
The Ana Santiago coached-Falcons bolstered by national team mainstays Cloine Muyco and Rizza Bernardino duels Ateneo de Manila for the top honors after the Blue Eagles squeaked a winning run over the Iloilo-based CPU Golden Lions 3 ½ innings beyond the 7-inning regulation play in the other semi-final crossover match-up.
Central Polytechnic University which is coached by Seattle-raised Fil-Am pastor Kim dela Cruz has represented West Visayas in the National PRISAA for years. Under his unique program, CPU had won two consecutive national championships in the National PRISAA and in this year’s Cebuana Lhullier-ASAPHIL National Intercollegiate Softball Championships had become the tournament’s Rolling Stones.
During the elimination round, the Golden Lions shocked NU, last year’s 1st runner up in the UAAP softball wars, former UAAP champion UST and ex-SCUAA titlists, Rizal Technological University and Central Luzon State University and served a virtual statement to PRISAA regional contenders that with this strong showing among the nation’s softball powerhouses, West Visayas has set their face like flint to recover the PRISAA national championship from the Cordilleras.
In the final day of the games, CPU battles NU for third, which lost to Adamson University in the other semifinal crossover.
A highly placed softball official in this National Intercollegiate games called and in reference to CAR’s championship bout with West Visayas’ CPU asked me in the vernacular, “Tinalo niyo ba talaga ito?” Apparently, the Cordillera softball did, 4-3 and set in stone its historic and first national softball honor.
I asked myself as a steward and coach of this over-achieving team which have endured ignominy, division and controversy within yet blessed by heaven’s grace with 3 bronzes, 2 silvers and 1 gold medal in six years of national competitions and random praise from pundits of the game if Cordillera softball can repeat the feat in 2014? I believe I know the answer. Even the angels around us already know the answer and know so much more.
This same question, I passed to the soft belles, unto whom the vision of winning a national championship I sold during their intermediate years and by the same divine grace, truly earned distinction as PRISAA national softball champions. The reply was forthright and immediate. Not chance, tsamba or suerte, which are six letter words. Not the devil, an 8-letter word including its correct infinitive. But one would utter the three letter word, one word hallowed fearfully and sought by True Light Seekers and unambiguously consistent with invocations of Divine Providence.
It was elating to hear an acknowledgement from them that our labors and sacrifices had not been about sheer blood, sweat, toil and tears alone but with the spirit of a pure vision and faith. With that, I was blessed.
Surely, we were blessed. Apart from Him, truly nothing of significance and value to both heaven and earth could be accomplished.
But I salute all of you, head coach/pastor Kim, assistant coach Ric and the entire CPU Golden Lions who rocked the 2013 National Intercollegiate Softball Championships in Sto. Nino, Marikina. CPU’s statement of strength, resolve and preparation under your leadership to win the National Collegiate Games again in Tagum was noted. Let all PRISAA regions in softball prepare!
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on October 29, 2013.