Ana Santiago: PH softball’s winningest coach

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  • If one is to give Adamson women’s softball head coach Ana Santiago a nickname, “Shortie” would have fit her. For she is short at 5-feet flat with short pair of legs and arms.

    Adamson U Feature

    But if one is to consider her performance as a mentor in both local and international arenas, “Big Girl” would be it. The late baseball/softball great Filomeno “Boy” Codinera, Santiago’s coach during her playing days, called her “Quiapo Snatcher” because of her speed and quickness in stealing the bases.

    From the time Ana assumed the head coaching job from Codinera in 2004, the Lady Falcons have racked up 12 UAAP championship victories, the most by any coach in any sport in the varsity league. Count a pair as Codinera’s understudy in 2001 and 2002 and her total championship winnings would be 14.

    And Ana stands to raise that amazing record to 15 when the Lady Falcons plunge into action anew in this year’s UAAP softball war which starts Thursday at the historic Rizal Memorial Ballpark

    For her feats, Ana, the youngest of the brood of six of the late Manolito and wife Shertita Santiago of Kawit town in Cavite, was elevated among the 80 athletes in other sports in the list of the Greatest UAAP products in commemoration of the 80th year anniversary the league among student athletes in the country’s top universities.

    Ana extended her UAAP title victory run in the National Open Championship where she, too, emerged triumphant a least seven times for a total 21 career harvest and earning fir her the right to handle the Philippine Blu Girls several times in their quest fame and honor.

    That gave Ana to strut her coaching brilliance to the global arena where she guided the Blu Girls to three title conquests in the Southeast Asian Games in as many times she handled the baton in the 2007, 2011 and 2015 editions of the biennial Games where softball was played.

    Two of Ana’s biggest victories the world level plays came in the 2012 Big League World Series for girls 16-8 softbelles of the Little League movement and the 2017 Under 18 World Series of the Pony (Protect Our Nation’s Youth) Baseball/Softball program.

    Ana, likewise, had three bronze medal finishes in the Big-League World Series before the Little League did away with the division.

    She also handled the Blu Girls in one Asian Games and one Asian championship where he Philippines ended up fourth in both.

    Besides handling the Adamson women’s softball team to more than a dozen UAAP softball diadems, Ana steered, too, the Lady Falcons to a league record 73-straight game triumph.

    The pride of Kawit attributes her coaching success to long-time guru Codinera. “In fact, all of Adamson ’successes in softball woukd nohave been possible if not for coach Boy. “

    “We owe every fruit we’re reaping in the sport of softball to coach Boy. Siya ang nagturo sa aming lahat na maglaro. Disiplinado ag istrikto si coach Boy. Hindi madamot magturo ng lahat ng nalalaman niya sa paglalaro at maging sa coaching,” Ana asserted.

    “Kaya naman napakarami niyang naging produkto maging sa baseball man.Magaling siya sa lahag ng aspeto ng larong baseball at softball maging sa technicality. Walang  nangunguna sa kanya,” she said.

    Ana said she and the Lady Falcons dedicated their last season’s seven-peat victory to Codinera who passed away October last year. “Pagkapanalo naming ng seven-peat, dinalaw namin siya sa bahay niya at inihandog namin ang championship trophy sa kanya. Tuwang-tuwa siya. A few months after, he left us.”

    She said the Adamson fathers agreed to lay Codinera’ remains at the St. Vincent de Pau Columbarium inside the Adamson Church.

    “We also decided to dedicate ours campaign this year to him so he can guide us in our bid for an eight-peat, “she said I reference to the UAAP softball tournament which starts Thursday at the Rizal Memorial Ballpark.

    By EDDIE G. ALINEA

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