Saura is one Davaoeno Pres. Duterte will be proud of

ABS-CBN Sports on Aug 15, 2017 09:33 AM
Saura is one Davaoeno Pres. Duterte will be proud of
As team captains go, six-foot-five middle attacker Francis Saura of the Sta. Elena Construction & Development-backed Mega Builders sees to it that his all National U Bulldogs-teammates do not lose their composure on the court. Many a time he is seen rushing to the referee to question what he thinks are calls that are unjustly called against his team. (Photo by Chax Cabrera)

Until now that he’s on his fifth year in National University as a student-athlete, Francis Saura, 21, of Davao City, refuses to be influenced by the ways of the Big City.

Saura may be spotted always bent over his cell phone or with a headset strapped to his ears and slightly moving to the beat of music only he can hear, but that just sums up his concessions to the modern trappings surrounding him.

He retains his simple-guy-from-the-countryside looks. Well, he tried the man bun before – that haircut which looks like a clump of cut hair were bunched together and pasted on the peak of original hair -- for one UAAP season but abandoned it to revert to the nice, clean haircut parents would approve of.

Francis Saura or Sau to his family and friends in Davao remains a nice probinsyano at heart, a countryside boy steeped in virtues, very respectful of his elders and, first and foremost, a dutiful son. He is a quiet fellow and unassuming, his teammates say. He is never one to call attention to himself.

That makes him more appealing, fans inhabiting the volleyball community are one in saying.

That athletes especially from the provinces are dutiful sons and daughters is generally the rule rather than the exception, the poor among them working hard at their studies and sport they get scholarships out of to give their families some measure of security. But it never gets tiring to hear each and everyone’s story.

Like Saura’s.

The youngest of three siblings was orphaned by his father, a corn mill worker, when he was in Grade V in Thompson Christian School where he finished his high school as well.

He tagged along with an aunt in her barangay volleyball games as a gangling kid and her interest in the sport rubbed off on her nephew. It was only when he was in third year high school that he joined the TCS varsity squad. He was good enough to be picked for his region’s Palarong Pambansa delegation to Dumaguete in 2013, where the NU scouts recruited him.

“My first year in NU was especially trying,” he said in Filipino. “I was away from my family for the first time and I would always feel homesick. But I endured it. I told myself that I am in Manila to study and play, to finish my studies so I could help out my mother, who is a pharmacy assistant.”

To be able to return to his family twice a year during summer and Christmas, Saura saves as much money as could be saved from his student-athlete allowances so he could buy plane tickets. That entails a lot of belt-tightening considering that male volleyball athletes from exclusive schools are said to be receiving not that much training and playing money.

The quiet Davaoeno President Duterte will surely be proud of plays a pivotal role in the Mega Builders’ championship campaign in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference, organized by Sports Vision with Asics as its official league partner and Mikasa as its official game ball, against Cignal HD Spikers.

After showing height and raw power in NU’s present team’s debut in the 2015 Spikers’ Turf, now defunct, Du30’s kababayan is now considered one of the nation’s finest middle attackers along with teammate Kim Malabunga.

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