Steven Manaig, Raymond Nerosa, and Bryan Castillo could have left Adamson University after UAAP Season 82 was called off due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
After all, the trio had already given gold to Adamson back in UAAP Season 80, and are now full-time members of the Philippine Men’s National Baseball Team.
Manaig has also received his degree in Secondary education with a major in Music Arts.
But something was missing for the 24-year-old catcher.
“Kaya ako bumalik sa Adamson kasi hindi pa kumpleto yung five years ko. Hindi ko pa feel na mag-graduate ng Adamson na isang lang ang championship,” said Manaig.
“So ngayon, pipilitin namin makuha ito.”
But more than having a send-off on his own accord, Manaig is also playing for someone who is close to him.
Back on September 24, 2021, former Adamson pitcher Jerome Yenson passed away at the young age of 24.
Manaig and Yenson were close friends due to their pitcher-catcher relationship, not just with the Soaring Falcons but also with the national team.
“Sobrang close namin ni Jerome tapos national team pa kami pareho, dito sa Adamson, kami yung pitcher-catcher,” reflected Manaig.
“Yun yung pinaka-rason namin kaya kami bumalik – nasayang yung isa naming kaibigan. Kaya siyempre naglalaro kami para sa kanya at para sa Adamson.”
Of course, coming back is a risk. What if they can’t get the Cinderella ending that they are seeking?
Things didn’t start well in their first game of UAAP Season 85. Adamson had to crawl back from an early deficit against University of Santo Tomas before earning a 9-8 victory.
“Merong pressure yan kasi sa aming bumalik, lahat kami national team pa.”
But Manaig is embracing that pressure, hoping that his teammates can help alleviate it.
“Kami yung tinitingala ng teammates namin kaya lagi ko sinasabi sa kanila na pantay-pantay pa rin tayo rito sa Adamson. Bawat isa, may role na gagawin sa field.”