PRESSURE constantly tails Amiel Lallana, a collegiate baseball player whose family includes former national baseball players like his father, Rolando Lallana, and his uncle, Wilfredo Lallana. Aniel himself has been playing since his elementary years.
The glamour and popularity of the University Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP) made him try out for the Men’s Golden Sox team of the University of Santo Tomas (UST).
“I was baseball team captain when I was in high school. After that, my plan was to play in the UAAP, so I decided to try out,” he says.
During tryouts, Amiel was immediately noticed by the Golden Sox coach, who asked him to continue training until he finally made it to the team.
With luck and good timing, he was able to play in the UAAP in his rookie year.
“My first game was bad because I didn’t trust myself that much. I was benched for showing a mediocre performance. But I told my teammates and myself that I will do better in the next games,” he says.
“When you’re there at the field, you will really feel nervous and pressured. But that only make the games bad, and sometimes worse,” he adds.
Eventually, Amiel did better and became part of the first nine players of every game.
“I worked really hard. Seeing my name on the scoreboard made me feel ecstatic,” he says.
In that same year he proved himself even more to his teammates by playing well in a crucial moment against National University (NU).
“They were expecting me to hit because we needed to catch up with NU’s score. When I hit the ball, our momentum just exploded. That led to our victory,” he proudly recalls.
The UST Men’s Golden Sox remains fourth overall in Seasons 76 and 77 of the UAAP. But Amiel is confident that the team will improve this season.
“With the supervision of our coach, I know we can do better,” Amiel confidently says.
He also looks forward to improving his performance. Last season, he rated his performance as poor, scoring a near-zero hitting rate. With such a lackluster showing, he could feel that his coach and teammates were slowly losing trust in his skills.
Luckily, he managed to redeem himself, pushing boundaries to help pull off a victory in the second half of their games.
Amiel says that his father played a big role in his improvement as an athlete.
“My father scolds me whenever I make a simple error. He tells me to always bat hard and not to be nervous in the games. He reminds me to work hard because that’s the only way to reach my goals,” he says. “My father and the history of baseball in our family pressure me. But they are also my greatest motivation.”
Amiel wakes up at 5 in the morning to head to the UST Open Field. He trains until 9 a.m. and goes back to his dormitory to rest before going to class.
The 19-year-old is not just a plain student-athlete, he’s a student-athlete-teacher doing TLE (technology and livelihood education) demo teaching to some high school students in UST.
“I got used to playing baseball but when I had the chance to demo teach in my course program, which is education, I fell in love with it,” he says.
“I feel nervous whenever I demo teach but the experience makes me stronger. It makes me appreciate and excel in what I do,” he adds.
With his family and now academics uplifting him, it looks like we’re going to see a new and improved Amiel in this UAAP season.
“I’ll come back stronger this season,” he promises.
Photography Raymond Cauilan
Styling Daryl Baybado
Grooming and hairstyle Sari Campos
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