At one point, an athlete should realize that ball is not always life.
De La Salle University first baseman Diego Lozano now finds himself at that crossroad.
On one hand, he wants to give the Green Batters their first-ever back-to-back crowns in the UAAP. But on the other, the 22-year-old — who is about to finish his degree in La Salle — wants to take his masters abroad.
“It was really heartbreaking to hear the news, because the time when we heard that the UAAP is suspended was… All of us were practicing actually, like a week before our season is about to start. So all of us is super disheartened to find that it got cancelled. Like for baseball, La Salle hasn’t won a back-to-back championship, and coming off our win last year, we were hoping that we could do it. But then yeah, corona happened,” said the UAAP Season 81 Finals MVP and Best Right Fielder.
“If given the chance again, it’s a really hard decision, but I won’t mind doing it also. But the thing is since I’m graduating, I have to take master’s. But if I am gonna take master’s, it wouldn’t be in La Salle, I wanted it to be somewhere else for a different experience.”
Baseball in the Philippines is no longer what it used to be.
Though the country’s baseball association has made numerous attempts at forming a league, it has not been able to sustain full-time competition for the players.
Lozano knows that making a living in the sport he has played since he was in Grade One is only a possibility if he plays abroad.
“Baseball in the Philippines is not as big as the other countries like Japan, and it’s super sayang because I see a lot of kids who have so much potential to make it abroad, but given the lack of facilities and equipment, they are hindered by it. Even when we went to Japan, the coaches were surprised to see that there’s this talent in the Philippines and encourage them to bring baseball programs here in the Philippines because of course, everybody wants to help each other out,” said the 2019 BFA Asian Championship’s Best First Baseman.
“If you wanna take it to a next level, you have to go abroad, like the top two countries to go to would be Japan or States. Especially with what’s going around, it’s really hard to plan on what you want for sports because you don’t know when everything is gonna clear up, because like next month, everything can be clear, or one or two more years,” he continued.
“I still obviously want to play baseball, but I also have to weigh my options. You have to weigh your expectations because you can’t just keep on waiting and next thing you know, you’re wasting two or three years of your life, and in those two to three years, you could make a difference already.”
Whether he returns or not, Lozano knows that La Salle will still have a good chance of winning that elusive back-to-back.
And he is confident that Season 79 Most Valuable Player Iggy Escano will take the lead for the Green Batters.
“If there’s one person who will lead the team, it would probably be the guy who I’m playing with since first grade. His name is Ignacio Escaño. He’s been one of the people that younger people should look up to and aspire to be one day.”