Homesick: Longing for family, Santillan moved to tears after La Salle win
Santi Santillan has always been a picture of near stoicism for De La Salle throughout the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball tournament, rarely showing emotion be it in celebration or in misery.
And yet that wall of passivity eventually crumbled on Wednesday when Santillan burst in tears after their 84-77 victory against National University at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Santillan broke down in tears after longing for his wife, child, and family.
“I just want to see them in person,” said Santillan in Filipino as he wiped his tears away. “All this sacrifice is for them, and I just dedicate every game to them.”
“My homesickness became my motivation because I’m the only one here.”
Santillan, who finished with 18 points and five rebounds, said he last saw his parents and siblings in December of 2017 in Cebu while it was this February that he last saw wife Alicia Mae and baby Aiden Lucas.
What hurts most for Santillan is that he missed his son’s first words and first birthday last June 27.
“I haven’t heard my son Lucas Aiden’s first words and I also missed his first birthday,” said Santillan whose wife and kid are now in Hawaii since both are citizens of the United States.
Santillan, though, is thankful for his coaches and teammates who became his de facto family here in Manila while his real ones are far away from him.
“It’s a good thing that my teammates are here and my coaches who also became father figures are here and that makes my home sickness a little more bearable,” said Santillan.
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