He dreams of becoming a professional tennis player, considers family very important in his life, and maintains a high academic standing. Today, such is life to 17-year-old Betto Orendain.
Betto is a fourth-year high-school student at La Salle Greenhills. His love of tennis began when he used to watch his elder sister, Tola, in a tennis camp when they were younger.
“A coach invited me, and from there my passion for tennis began,” Betto said.
It started as a hobby, but as the years passed, he became better at the sport. At age 11, he started to excel.
“I started to become serious with the sport when I was 11. It was then that I truly realized that I love this sport and I will strive harder for it,” he said.
He has joined international tournaments like the 14-U World Juniors, where he represented the Philippines. He also played at the 14-U Asia Oceania Asian Tennis Federation and the 18-U International Tennis Federation Phinma International Juniors.
Even without bringing home medals, Betto described how happy he was in the international tournaments he joined.
“Unfortunately, I did not place. But each tournament gave me lessons and experiences rather than medals. And for me, that is enough,” he said.
His best tennis tournament was the 3rd Guillermo M. Jose Sr. Memorial Cup. Betto was 13 at that time and he was champion in the 16- and 18-under boy’s category. He recounted that the strongest competitors participated, and playing against them was difficult. But Betto was determined to win.
Betto looks up to tennis superstar Roger Federer; to him, Federer represents everything a gentleman should be on and off the court.
When Betto was nine, his father passed away, and he was left with his mother and elder sister.
“My mother and my sister are my greatest cheerleaders. My dad would have been part of the squad. In good and bad times, my mother, my sister and I stick together like the three musketeers,” Betto said.
Math is his favorite subject, and being a student-athlete doesn’t stop him from excelling in academics.
Betto is a consistent honor student. For him, academics is the key to a bright future.
“Most athletes today just want to play their sports. For me, it’s student first before athlete. Athletes should prioritize their academics because that’s our ticket to a very bright future ahead of us,” stressed Betto.
But even as a consistent class achiever, Betto admits that there are times he struggles with juggling his student-athlete life. And his formula is to have the right amount of discipline.
“Time management is always a problem. But one must learn how to overcome it. And that is possible only through discipline. Discipline will take you a long way,” he said.
Betto sees himself in the future as either a doctor or an engineer. But he also dreams of becoming a tennis superstar.
“If my tennis career is really good, I’ll definitely grab the opportunity to become a full-time athlete,” Betto said.