Student. Athlete. Courtside reporter.
The first two titles go hand-in-hand for most people, while only a few get a taste of concurrently being the first and the third, and rarely are all three together.
Enter the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles’ Martie Cinelle Bautista.
Living with the gig
When ABS-CBN announced that Martie Bautista was set to become the Blue and White’s courtside reporter for Season 80, quite a few eyebrows were raised, as UAAP football fans know her as a member of the Ateneo Women’s Football Team.
“It’s much more different now, obviously,” said Bautista.
“Starting with football as my sport nobody really supported our team. Ever since people started finding out, especially the Ateneo fans, that I’m from the Ateneo Women’s Football Team; they’re not only supporting me but also the entire team which is such a big win when it comes to women’s football here because we only get televised only in the finals.”
It felt like Bautista has already come a long way since she was introduced as Denice Dinsay’s successor for the sporting teams of Ateneo. When push came to shove, taking on a new challenge — and not fame — was the mindset of the Miriam College alumna.
“I wanted to experience it and because I’m into talking and media so it was fun getting to meet all the players and getting the best seats in the court. You know like courtside. We get the best seats to watch volleyball and basketball. So far, those are the things I’m enjoying like meeting new people and just learning everything in the media industry especially in ABS-CBN,” explained the forward.
Being a student-athlete at the collegiate level is already tough; what more if the courtside reporter gig gets added to the equation? In terms of going through the motions, the 20-year old was thankful for the support from her coach Jay Pee Merida, Ateneo’s athletic director Em Fernandez, and her parents.
“If it was not for them, I don’t think I would have balanced everything all at once. They really helped me. They knew that this situation was different and that there are going to be times when games are at the same day of my reports. They tried to be flexible with the scheduling considering the fact that I had to work for it,” said the AB Communication student.
“I had to, first of all, think of myself as a student. I had to study hard. And then an athlete because I’m also under scholarship for Ateneo.”
With so many things to juggle, the Quezon City-native understandably needed to forfeit some of the activities she enjoyed doing. Pursuits such as gimmicks with friends and beach trips have to take a backseat to her academics, football, and courtside duties.
“But it’s okay now because you experience different things every year so I guess this is also one of them,” added the third-year student.
On to the pitch
As of this writing, Ateneo started their season in mixed fashion, as they have won their first game against the University of the Philippines but lost their second assignment versus the University of Santo Tomas. The Lady Eagles are currently in pursuit of their maiden UAAP Women’s Football Title.
The task may be harder for Bautista and the rest of the Lady Eagles because of star striker Cam Rodriguez’s graduation, yet it might be the same reason that the group becomes stronger together.
“I think now since Cam Rodriguez is not here, we are more reliant on each other. The work is distributed well within the group so we are not just relying on one person at the top. We always have to be with each other, have each other’s backs. We all have to put in the effort.
She added, “I remember when I was in first year. I would be with Cam. When I would pass the ball to her, I felt like my work was done. Now, I have to keep working. That is also a challenge for us because we are a young team since majority of us are rookies so now we are just trying to fix everything. Make everything work without Cam and the seniors who we lost in the way.”
Ateneo have never reached the finals in the UAAP. A place in the Promised Land, though, is only an afterthought for Bautista, as it is the Holy Grail that matters the most.
“Of course, the goal in hand is to become the champions of this year. Ateneo has never won a championship so I hope that this year we could break the bronze curse and actually get a championship for Ateneo.”
Student-athletes are rarely allowed to venture out of their studies and sport to engage in a venture that may harm their grades and athletic performance. Full credit should go to Bautista for going into the unknown and opening a gateway for people like herself.