THE Francisco family name is almost sports royalty for University of Santo Tomas, so it’s no surprise Christine Francisco ended up playing for the school’s women’s volleyball team.
The emerging 17-year-old rookie happens to be the granddaughter of longtime UST athletic director Felicitas Francisco and niece of former players Gerard and Gina Francisco.
In fact, the family's close ties with sports extends beyond the campus as her grandfather is Olympian Ben Francisco, a member of the 1954 Philippine team that finished third in the World Basketball Championship (now Fiba World Cup) in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
But despite the family's rich athletic tradition, the Tigresses middle blocker has been repeatedly reminded by her grandmother to give more importance to honoring the 400-year-old institution.
“Si lola kasi ganoon talaga, parang bayaan mo na ang pangalan mo sa likod, unahin mo na ‘yung pangalan mo sa harap,” Christine shared to SPIN.ph.
The soft-spoken volleybelle revealed how her lola, fondly called ‘Mommy Tiger,’ who retired from UST in 2011 after 50 years of service to the school, has been supportive not only of her but primarily of the team.
“Nae-excite siya, kasi ‘yung passion niya cheering for the team talaga, hindi naman individually,” said Christine. “Parang pag nakita niya ako, UST agad (ang naiisip niya) hindi as apo.”
While the UST community expects her to live up to the family name, Christine – along with elder brother Justin Raymund, who also plays for the UST men’s volleyball team as libero – doesn't getstressed out on the external expectations.
The first year Journalism student is confident no matter what she does, her family, especially ‘Mommy Tiger’ will always stand behind her all the way.
“Actually hindi naman niya pinush talaga sa amin ng kuya ko (na maglaro for UST). Kaming dalawa natural na sa amin na mahilig talaga sa sports. Okay lang, wala naman pressure,” said Christine, whose father, Sonny, didn’t suit up for the Espana-based school.
“Hindi naman siya nakaka-pressure kasi since family, kahit siguro anong piliin naming daan supportive naman sila,” she added.
Christine and her brother naturally want to make their family proud, but both agree they hope to do it on their own merit and make a name for themselves.
“Lagi namin napag-uusapan ng kuya ko na automatic nga ‘yun maiisip nila, pero hindi naman namin iniisip ‘yun na kailangan ganito ka, ganyan,” she said.
“Talagang pinu-push namin ni kuya para makilala kami as kami, hindi ‘yung nakilala kami kasi apo ni ganito or pamangkin ni ganyan ‘yung parang hanapin namin ‘yung way namin na kami lang,” added Christine.