SANTI Santillan was reduced to tears after La Salle’s 84-77 win over National University on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
While his teammates were celebrating a win that had the Archers knocking on the UAAP semis door, Santillan was crying buckets as he sang his school’s alma mater hymn, all the way to the traditional post-game press conference.
Well, the 22-year old transferee from University of Visayas said that it’s been a rough few months for him as he terribly misses his parents and siblings in Cebu as well as his wife and son, who are in Hawaii.
“Ano lang, nakaraang practice kasi, nagtanong si coach sa akin na kanino ko ide-dedicate tong season na to. Pag katapos ng practice, umuwi ako at umiyak talaga ako kasi sobrang nami-miss ko na sila,” Santillan said.
“Sobrang na-miss ko na sila, gusto ko na sila makita. Talagang emotional ako,” he added.
Santillan said he understands that being away from friends and family is part of the sacrifice that a student-athlete like him has to make when he moved out of Cebu after being recruited by a top basketball program like La Salle.
“Siguro yung sakripisyo ko lang, para naman sa kanila to e. Wala naman iba e. Every game dine-dedicate ko to sa family ko,” said Santillan.
“Talagang pagiging homesick, ginagawa ko yung motivation. Talagang wala ng iba dito, ako lang mag-isa dito, buti nga andyan teammates ko, 'yung mga coaches na naging tatay ko rin, minsan di na ako naho-homesick,” he added.
The 6-5 forward said he's also sad to be missing the ‘firsts’ of his son Lucas.
“First word niya, first birthday niya wala ako dun, nung June 27, so ayun,” he added.
On the court, Santillan is all business as he finished with 18 points and five rebounds without a single turnover. That isn’t lost on coach Louie Gonzalez, who is thankful to have a player who continues to rise above the adversity.
“I looked at the scores and si Santi grabe yung efficiency niya. Napakahirap nun, he played 32, 33 minutes walang turnover. Sobrang focus niya, sobra 'yung inspiration niya,” said Gonzalez.
“Since January pa lang, alam ko na pinagdadaanan niya. Sabi ko sa kanya, what he’s doing right now, para din sa family niya,” he added. “Kaunti na lang, kaunti nalang dong."