MABALACAT, PAMPANGA — Back in 2013, Miguel Salud, just a freshman, had just steered Ateneo to its first UAAP Baseball championship.
However, a greater opportunity came knocking his way.
The UAAP Season 75 Rookie Most Valuable Player was recruited by Division III school California Lutheran University. Though a tough decision, the 6-foot pitcher needed to move out of his comfort zone to improve on his game.
“Well honestly, the training in the US was really good. It was very different and it definitely got me much better. The experience, on the other hand, got me to where I am right now,” said Salud.
“I’m very thankful for it.”
In his senior year in Cal-Lutheran, Salud steered the school to the championship. He eventually moved to Germany and play baseball there.
But when the country needed him, the now-25-year-old did not hesitate to answer the call.
And last Monday, the wait was definitely worth it.
With the Philippines dragged into deep waters by Thailand, Salud was called to the mound to settle the team down in the ninth inning.
Holding just a 3-2 lead, Salud pinned down the Thais, breaking their momentum and eventually bagging the Philippines’ first win in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
For Salud, it was not just him who improved over the last six years.
“Definitely! I’ve been gone for six years, that is why I haven’t seen them for a while. Baseball is not televised right? So seeing them in Taiwan a few months ago was amazing. We are really good at baseball,” said Salud.
“I hope it all goes up from here.”
And Salud is just glad to be back home.
“It feels really good, really good. I love that I’m back here, playing for the country. Been gone for almost six years. I’m just so proud to represent the country.”