Caught in the net: no stopping Datuin, netball team

Mark Escarlote on Jun 08, 2015 08:53 PM
Caught in the net: no stopping Datuin, netball team
Nag-enjoy ako and at the same time ite-treasure ko talaga ang mga natutunan ko especially yung mga naging experiences ko dito --- Michelle Datuin

SINGAPORE --- Philippine national women’s netball team member Michelle Datuin sat on the carpeted floor tapping her phone while waiting for the elevator doors to open.

Her luggage and paper bags of pasalubong are stacked in one side of the lobby in front of her.

She raised her head up when approached by three Manila-based reporters.      

Smiling, she stood up as the sports scribes readied their recorders for an interview. 

“Nag-enjoy ako and at the same time ite-treasure ko talaga ang mga natutunan ko especially yung mga naging experiences ko dito.” Datuin said.

Datuin and the netball squad returned to Manila Monday night after their campaign in the 28th Southeast Asian Games here.

The former De La Salle volleyball player acknowledged the fact that they underperformed and became the whipping girls in the event.

 Yes, they did fell to an embarrassing 11-112 loss to Malaysia – the biggest losing margin of a team in the 6-nation field, a day after a 22-62 blowout defeat to Thailand and received a beating from Myanmar (31-56), Singapore (12-84) and Brunei (32-56) but Datuin said that people should understand that though it resembles basketball, the national passion of Filipinos, it is a new sport and winning against teams that are years and levels ahead is impossible.     

The team received waves of criticisms from bashers in social media and all of it were nasty and painful.  

“Sila (team) hindi sila masyadong nag-react pero sa akin sobrang dami,” she said when asked about the hates they received.  

“Ako isang beses lang ako nag-react, ayoko na mag-mention ng name pero writer din siya, in a very polite way,” she continued. “Tapos ang sumagot lang sa kanya ay mga fans.”

She said the team was affected by the comments especially coming from those back at home.

“Siyempre masakit pero hindi rin kasi nila alam kung ano yung sport, kung ano yung hirap ng ginagawa namin kaya siguro ganoon sila makapagsalita,” she added. “Well, anyway OK lang ganoon talaga e.”

Datuin said that she had no idea what netball was back then when she was asked by another volleyball player Michiko Castaneda of University of the Philippines to try it.      

“Si Michiko, siya talaga ang nagyaya sa akin noong nagba-volleyball pa kami when we are playing for Mane ‘N Tail that time. Napag-uusapan na naming (ang pagsali sa netball),” Datuin continued.

“Sabi niya “Uy may training for netball, pupunta raw ng Singapore.” That time hindi ako nakasama kasi may naka-book na akong flight pa-US so noong January na ako nag-tryout. So may proseso, dumaan din naman kami sa proseso,” said Datuin, also an entrepreneur.

“Nu’ng nag-try ako sabi ko “Uy OK to ah!” Siyempre bago and nagba-volleyball ako for like 20 years of my life so why not try a new sport and may chance raw na makapag-SEA Games.

“Siyempre passion ko rin naman to play for our country kaya sabi ko why not try it so yun na,” she said.

But playing an international level was a rude awakening for them.

“Nagulat talaga (sa laro sa SEA Games) kasi yun yung first ever international competition namin and iba yung nakalaro namin e,” according to Datuin. “Kasi mayroon kaming mga nakakalaro sa Philippines pero ibang level ‘to itong mga nandito. Hindi lang yung height ang advantage nila kundi pati yung kung paano sila tumayo pagdating sa bola. As in talagang ang titigas men kahit bangga-banggain mo talaga, men.”

But their forgettable SEA Games performance will not stop the team from moving forward and continue what they started.   

“Pagbalik naming (sa Manila) siyempre may break muna kami ng one week and then conditioning training pa rin. Yun ang napag-usapan namin last night lang,” she said.

Datuin said that the team is in need of more players and she herself is doing recruitment from former volleyball colleagues.  

“Mayroon na (akong nire-recruit). Noong nagkaroon ng gathering for SEA Games mayroon na akong mga teammates before like Nica Guliman. Hindi naman siya kasing active unlike before kaya sabi ko sa kanya na “try mo yung netball.” Nagre-recruit na ako bago pa ako umalis papunta rito,” said Datuin.

As for her former DLSU teammates, Datuin said that she thinks they are not yet ready to embrace a new sport. 

“Wala pa kasi nakikita ko sa kanila na sobrang attached pa sila sa volleyball e. So hayaan ko muna sila until the time na dumating na gusto na nilang mag-try ng ibang sport,” she said.

Asked if her doors are still open for volleyball, Datuin answered: “Of course!”





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