Dadang triumphed over odds and homesickness

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Siemens Desiree Dadang (center, foreground) has been from the get-go a key player for the Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors, who swept both the V League Reinforced and Open Conferences in a rousing debut in 2016 and started 2017 winning the opening tourney of the new Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference. The PVL is another project organized by Sports Vision with Asics as its official league partner and Mikasa as its official game ball. (Photo by Nante Azores)

Discovered in the Palarong Pambansa held in Tarlac in 2010, Siemens Desiree Dadang went home to Valencia, Bukidnon, straight from the national students multi-event sportsfest to say goodbye to her family, pick up her things, and fly to Manila to join National University’s stable of athletes.

In the next five years she focused on her life as a student-athlete, reuniting with her parents and four siblings in her town of birth only three times over that long period which saw her transition into a highly-skilled middle attacker and a proud holder of a diploma in business management.

“I was rapturous when I received the diploma, the culmination of all the sacrifices I had to go through,” she says in Filipino.

“My first two years in Manila was especially trying and my teammates were privy to that,” recalls the five-foot-eight, 24-year-old key player of triple champions Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors. “The frequent attacks of homesickness, always so intense, nearly broke me, but thanks to my teammates like Dindin (Santiago) and Cai (Maricar Nepomuceno) I was able to endure them.

“They would patiently comfort me till I stopped crying; they kept reminding me that all of us on the team had to make sacrifices to attain the goals we had set for ourselves.”

In time she learned, she says, to trust herself, to believe in her capacity to hurdle whatever obstacles were thrown her way.

“Without my parents to guide me, I realized I had to have faith in myself to be able to pull through every day of those five years of studying and training and playing.”

‘Till now that she’s been gainfully employed in the customer service department of Maynilad for two years now as well as a contract player of Pocari Sweat, she does not regret that since she joined the Lady Bulldogs in the summer of 2010, the youngest of five siblings of a retired PLDT employee and a housewife has yet to spend Christmas with her family.

She got to spend Holy Week with them during the rare times that she had been home.

The sentimental young student-athlete then who cried buckets during bouts of homesickness is now a pretty woman prone to thinking in practical terms.

“I add the money that I’d otherwise spend on plane tickets to the cash gifts I send them every Christmas, my nieces and nephews included. It is more practical that way.”

This, beside the regular monthly support she voluntarily sends them. “My priority right now is my family.”

Being independent is another value that has come to her as a result of her being away from her family for a long time now. She lives alone in a rented condo unit somewhere in Quezon City, but somehow she remains undomesticated, she sheepishly adds.

“I eat out most of the time. I have a busy, busy schedule. No time to cook, not that I can really cook. There’s my regular work at Maynilad and my daily two- or three-hour training for Pocari. When Maynilad starts preparing for our mother league, my schedule is such that there is no time to breathe.”

But this dutiful daughter isn’t complaining. She’s counting her blessings and enjoying them.

“I love my work at Maynilad and by playing for Pocari, I am both indulging my passion for volleyball and getting paid for it quite handsomely.”



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