By Mike Ochosa
What are the chances that a father and son would hit a homerun in the last inning of their respective final University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) baseball game?
Eric Gesmundo played the last game of his university life way back in 1994. Playing for the Adamson Falcons in the finals, Eric launched a homerun in the 9th inning to ensure the win for his team.
Last month, De La Salle University (DLSU) regained the UAAP senior’s baseball crown by beating arch-rival Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) in a historic best- of -three championship series.
The title was still up for grabs going into the 8th inning of game 3 as Ateneo refused to give up when they equaled DLSU’s 7 run tally. What sealed the deal for DLSU was a 2- run homerun posted by the eventual finals MVP senior and graduating player Francis” Kiko’ Gesmundo.
Kiko is Eric’s son.
DLSU then closed the game out in the 9th with a spectacular double play.
A homerun in baseball or in any aspect of life does not just come. It is a result of years of hard work and dedication, the gains of which reveal itself in that one singular moment.
It is quite remarkable that both father and son ended their careers in the same fashion.
I chanced upon the two gentlemen and I asked them to share their journey.
When did you start playing baseball?
Eric: I was 10 years old
Kiko: 6 or 7 years old
Where did you first learn how to play?
Eric: Los Banos
What schools have you played for?
Eric: Lopez Elementary School in Laguna and HS in Los Banos
Kiko: Marist for Elementary and High School
What community teams have you played for?
Eric: Los Banos Philab Little League
Kiko: Marikina Little League
What countries have you travelled to play baseball?
Eric: Beijing, China and I was selected as part of the Far East Little League team in Tokyo in 1986
Kiko: Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China
What college did you represent?
Eric: UST as a rookie and then I moved to Adamson
What position(s) do you play?
Eric: Catcher, Second and Third base and Outfield
Kiko: Pitcher, Third Base and Short Stop
How does it feel to hit a homerun?
Eric: It makes me very happy. You want to hit a homerun as you exit the UAAP as champion.
Kiko: I think hitting a homerun is the best feeling as a batter because hitting it as solid as you can is like eating your favorite food and it really feels good.
When asked to give their message to young and upcoming baseball players, both father and son had similar replies.
For the young kids they both say “Continue playing and dream.” They both emphasize that the young players should never stop learning. Kiko adds, “You can learn a lot in a single training so learn to respect the time of your mentor and always be hungry to learn new things”.
The younger Gesmundo emphasizes, “The strength of a player lies in the grit of his inner self.” He adds, “Most of the players are good but they don’t put a lot of work in practice. For me how you train will show when you are playing in the game.”
Collectively, both father and son yearn that the Philippines will soon have a pro-league or even a semi-pro league just like in Japan or in the US. They say that by having this, local baseball players can level up their skills.
It is not a surprise that both father and son have had the same level of success in this game. Having the same level of commitment and determination, and eventually hitting game winning homeruns was just a matter of time.
When asked who their most memorable coach is, Eric responded, “Of course, the legendary Filomeno “Boy” Codinera.” (Boy Codiniera is regarded as one of the best Filipino sluggers ever.)
To this question Kiko replied, “Of course, my dad, he was my very first coach.” I guess that says it all.
Mike Ochosa is an avid sportsman. He has written for various broadsheets and on line publication providing his thoughts and insights on various sports. He is a freelance TV boxing analyst having sat ringside in 14 of Pacquiao’s fights and for various international sports networks as well. He was President of Punchout Boxing Club and is currently President and Program Director of Philippine Habagat Baseball.
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