“Field of dreams” now a reality

Even with the sudden downpour, the inauguration of the UP Diliman (UPD) baseball field still pushed through last Aug. 5.

Located next to the annex gymnasium of the UPD College of Human Kinetics (CHK), the baseball field took five years to finish so much so that it earned the moniker “field of dreams.”

“At long last, mayroon na tayong world-class facility para sa baseball and softball teams,” said UPD Chancellor Fidel R. Nemenzo.

The UP coaching staff and varsity players with (beginning fifth from left) Anthony Dizer, Diaz, Nemenzo, Concepcion, and Cayetano. Also in photo are Ronualdo Dizer and Pagkaliwagan (second and third from right). Photo by Jefferson Villacruz, UPDIO

Nemenzo who was a former UP track and field athlete and a UP Integrated School high school baseball alum, added that the baseball field is an inspiration to the UP varsity community.

For his part, UP President Danilo L. Concepcion said the baseball field’s construction was a team effort. He proceeded to thank Sen. Julia “Pia” Cayetano, his former student at the UP College of Law, for her contribution.

“The construction of this baseball field has indeed been a team effort for many of us … I thank Senator Pia Cayetano for pushing relentlessly through the years for the funding for the construction of this over P106 million baseball field, and other facilities in the UPD Sports Complex,” Concepcion said.

Cayetano was the main sponsor in the Senate lobbying for the funding of the UPD Sports Complex.

“My time in UP as an athlete defined me. I am such a believer of sports changing lives,” she said.

Cayetano was a member of the UP Women’s Volleyball team that won the championship in Season 45 (1982-1983) of the University Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP).

“I started lobbying for funds for the university sports complex in 2012, which was accidentally the year my daughter entered UPD,” she said.

Like her, Cayetano’s daughters Nadine and Maxine were student athletes in UPD. The two were members of the UP Women’s Football Team.

Cayetano. Photo by Jefferson Villacruz, UPDIO

Meanwhile, UP Baseball Team coach Anthony Dizer thanked Cayetano and the university officials for their unwavering support. He dedicated the field to Coach Artemio ‘Temiong’ Isidro.

Isidro was a former CHK dean and baseball coach who steered the UP Baseball Team to a 5-peat championship in the University Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP) from Season 40 (1977-1978) to Season 44 (1981-1982). UP last won the baseball crown in Season 68 (2005-2006).

Isidro passed away on Oct. 12, 2021.

UP Softball Team coach Ronilon Pagkaliwagan said the field was a dream come true.

“Sisikapin namin ang podium finish,” Pagkaliwagan committed to the UP community, as the next UAAP season hopefully begins in October. UP last won the softball crown in Season 70 (2007-2008).

Aside from the baseball field, Cayetano, together with Senator Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, was also instrumental in seeking funds for the track and field oval, swimming pool, tennis courts, and football field.

Looking forward to other sports, Cayetano suggested that a golf course also be built on campus since “this is a sport we can excel, and we used to have a golf course.”

Baseball jerseys and caps were given to Cayetano, Concepcion, and Nemenzo as the CHK community’s tokens of gratitude. The three in turn signed the balls that will be used in ceremonial pitches. The signed balls used in ceremonial pitches can then be mounted, framed and displayed at the CHK.

The inauguration guests also witnessed the unveiling of the field marker.

UP Assistant Vice President for Public Affairs Jose Wendell P. Capili hosted the event. CHK Dean Francis Carlos B. Diaz, UP System and UPD officials, and the UP baseball and softball teams were also in attendance together with the CHK faculty and students and representatives of the contractor and implementing agency that constructed the baseball field.