Jun Veloso’s life after softball
SPORTS has been one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and I have heard or read of sad stories of people involved in local sports who are now forced to seek other means to earn a living.
And this is perfectly understandable as sports has come to practically a dead stop the past few months and still nothing definite on the return of organized sports events. But then people still need to earn money to meet their basic daily needs.
In the case of Jun Veloso, former operations manager for the local ruling body for softball Amateur Softball Association of the Philippines (Asaphil), he bid goodbye to the sport not directly connected to the virus but more of a personal decision to go back to his roots in Davao where he plans to retire for good in the future.
Last March, he resigned his position in Asaphil with a heavy heart to accept the position of project manager for a construction firm based in Siargao in Mindanao. He managed to make his way to the actual job site only recently because of the travel ban due to the quarantine.
I got in touch with him recently and asked him a lot of questions as to the status of softball from the time he joined the association 13 years ago after being recruited by sports patron Jean Henri Lhuillier who was just elected president of Asaphil.
JHL tasked Jun to professionalize the affairs of the group as far as management is concerned and advance it to the next level.
With JHL providing the financial support, softball started rising anew as new programs covering local and international areas, including foreign competitions, were put in place.
For Jun, the highlight would be the silver medal finish by the Blu Girls in the 2017 Asian Championship. World No. 2 Japan took the crown as expected.
The Blu Girls also qualified for the 2018 World Championships and it was in the same year that the Blu Girls beat all the other top ten ranked teams in the world except for the USA and Japan in various tournaments, improving its ranking to No. 11 as of now while the Blu Boys are 17th in the world.
As expected too, the Blu Girls continued its domination of the Southeast Asian Games, winning anew last year in the competition even as the Blu Boys settled for the silver.
Jun was the competition manager for the sport during the SEA Games which we hosted. But then came COVID-19 and all of Asaphil’s plans came to a halt although according to Jun, the NSA has come out with online training videos that can be adopted by local coaches for the meantime that the sport has yet to take off the ground again.
Unfortunately, Jun will no longer be around when that happens following his decision to shift to a corporate management career in Siargao and his retirement in Davao.
I wish Jun the best of luck for the future and at the same time thank him for his substantial contribution in developing softball and regain lost glory that we enjoyed in the early 1970s.
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