Taking a leap after setbacks: Angelika Armillo, the up-and-coming female basketball player
Beginning somewhere, most athletes might have found a clear path starting day one. Who would have thought that after such an unexpected event, one will find her passion and realize her own dedication.
Despite being a newbie in the University, DLSU-D Cagebelle Angelika Marie Armillo is making a name as she brings pride to the green-and-white team. Although her entry into basketball is a sudden turn-over, her sheer dedication has driven her into becoming one of the best in an otherwise men-dominated sport.
Leaving a mark
It was never part of her plan for she only dreamt of becoming a member of a varsity team in universities—which she sees as the only way to help her parents through scholarship while pursuing her favorite sport.
“Ngayon ko lang po ‘yun narinig, ngayon lang po na naglaro ako sa La Salle.”
She never even considered playing on bigger tournaments and leagues but as she kicks off leaving a mark after leading her crew to secure their victory at the University Games (UNIGAMES) held in Iloilo city, her skills and agility had been highlighted.
A shot in the dark
Despite not gaining the approval of her mother, the 18-year-old rookie continued to play her chosen sport. But like everyone else, her strength as an individual was tested when she felt being left behind from her own team way back in junior high school.
“Hindi ko feel na bahagi ako ng team [noon]. ‘Yong rotation ng players, hindi equal. Kumbaga parang kung sino lang ‘yong malalakas. Ipapasok lang kami kapag tambak na ‘yong laban,” Armillo recalled.
Reminiscing head-to-head battle during the Cluster Meet in the year 2014, the seventh grade Armillo, player of the Women’s Basketball Team of Las Piñas East National High School, faced the disappointment from her parents after spending her time sitting into the bench throughout the game and not having had the chance to show off her play as her team bowed down to its opponent.
She had a choice to quit being a member of her school’s varsity team after being embarrassed in front of her parents ,but Armillo strongly decided to turn the table into her advantage, pushing herself by striving and practicing to improve her skills. “Tumigil ako sa paglalaro sa team pero naglaro po ako nang naglaro. Nakikipaglaro ako sa mga lalaki, para ma-improve ko ‘yong sarili ko kasi gusto ko may marating ako.”
Her uncle’s legacy
Her journey to overcome numerous setbacks was never a smooth sailing one, yet she reflects back to the time when she had to move forward, she knew life taught her to be adamant like a soldier who is getting tougher when being wounded. “Kung hindi ako tumuloy sa meet na ‘yon, wala siguro ako rito (DLSU-D Women’s Basketball Team),” she said.
Holding a step back after she found out that her uncle passed away, the only child of the Armillo family was stuck in choosing to whether to take a step forward into reaching her dream and represent her school in the National Capital Region’s Meet in 2017, or to withdraw her appearance from the competition and be with his uncle who had been her number one supporter ever since.
Back to the ball game
Her performance in the 2017 National Capital Region (NCR) Meet paved way for more invitations to play on other basketball leagues in her region and opportunities than she expected. Armillo was given a chance to play during the Palarong Pambansa in 2018 where she clinched the gold medal for NCR.
She shared that if it was not because of Louie Fernandez, her coach from the University of Perpetual Help System Dalta in Las Piñas, she would not have had the opportunity to compete in the national event. Defending the crown to secure the region’s seven-peat win, her comeback was never easy after experiencing a series of downfalls
Armillo shared that being an athlete requires courage and strength. Fear and doubt will shake one’s will to continue but difficulties should never hinder reaching one’s dreams. One should take the risk in exchange for a chance to grab the victory or else forever regret the chance and lose not in the battle but the opportunity.