Utility Men: Working behind the scenes

Looking after the needs of athletes is no easy task. De La Salle University’s two consecutive finishes as the General Champion of the UAAP over the past two years attests to the fact that our athletes are given not just the adequate support needed but also the best one there is. These, and the quality of players recruited by and enrolled at De La Salle University, are but some of the factors that contribute to the premier status of the University in the world of sports.

Imagine handling the needs of not just one nor two nor three but the entire sports program of DLSU. Such is the burden borne by utility men Branson Carmoc and Restituto Ortega Jr. under the Office of Sports Development (OSD) of La Salle.

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You might notice these two while watching the games of our Lasallian athletes, especially during the televised games of the DLSU Green Archers and Lady Spikers where they are seen giving out towels and water bottles during timeouts. But don’t think that it’s all fun and games in what Branson and Restituto do as they may be one of the most hard working and loyal employees the University has ever had.


Loyal to a fault

Restituto started working for DLSU sometime in 1993, initially as a janitor. His co-janitor, Edgar Reyes applied in the OSD two years earlier than him, encouraged him to also apply for the position, as the OSD was short on people back then. Luckily, Restituto got accepted for the position and has been serving the OSD happily for 17 years now.

In 2011 however, Edgar Reyes’ son graduated from La Salle, prompting him to resign from his job as a utility man to find greener pastures with his wife in Canada.

As the utility men once again lacked manpower, the OSD was in need of another hardworking fellow to tend to the needs of the athletes. Having worked for the University as a janitor since 1996, Branson was the perfect guy for the job.


Behind the bench, beyond the camera

For these utility men, work begins as early as 4 am. With the DLSU Football team conducting their training in the wee hours of the day, Kuya Branson usually prepares the equipment and other materials the team might need in their practice as early as possible.

Dati wala pang 5 am nandito na ako. Kasi yung football team maaga pa lang aalis na kaya inaayos ko na yung mga tubig nila para may inumin sila,” shares Kuya Branson who has been in La Salle since 1996 and has been working for the OSD for almost three years.

Kuya Ortega added, “Pagdating ng 6 am hanggang 9 am nagpa-practice yung men’s volleyball kaya bago mag 5 am dapat nandito na kami. Yung women’s volleyball naman 10-12 pm. Bago sila nagte-training kailangan nila ng tape sa paa. Pati sa basketball team, 4 pm dapat maihanda namin sila.

In any sport, hydration is a key factor in securing the best performance out of an athlete and these two kuyas make sure of that.

Kapag may game, bago mag-start lahat ng kailangan ng athletes dadalhin ko. Yung Gatorade, yung tubig saka nilalagyan din namin sila ng tape. Pagdating na ng game bibigyan namin sila ng tubig,” said Kuya Branson.

Amidst the popularity of DLSU Green Archers and Lady Spikers, these two utility men provide the same dedication and passion an artist gives to his work even without the recognition the two teams enjoy.

Pag nakikita ako sa TV di ko na pinapansin yan. Pag uwi ko na lang sa bahay sinasabihan ako ng anak ko na ‘Papa, nakita kita sa TV,’ pero naka-focus kami talaga sa trabaho,” expressed Kuya Ortega.


Everyone’s sixth man

Working with the varsity teams for many years, the utility men confessed that they had grown fond with the athletes to the point that they treat them like family. “Karamihan sa basketball at volleyball nakakabiruan ko. Pati yung mga coach maayos makisama sa amin,”shares Ortega.

Parang anak lang ba,” Branson adds as he named DLSU Green Archers’ Jeron Teng and Thomas Torres to be his closest friends amongst the athletes. Though sometimes the teams may fall short, you could still count on the utility men to give their all, win or lose.

Jason Runes

By Jason Runes

Dan Jerusalem

By Dan Jerusalem

54 replies on “Utility Men: Working behind the scenes”

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