True measure of a team captain Francis Munsayac on and off the court

by: Tricia T. Santos and Jamie Nicole A. Brinez Making a big comeback in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 91 after a year-long break due to a knee ligament injury, the now captain ball of the Generals basketball team shared his life on and off court and his take on the real “measure” of an effective leader. Known as the “Mighty Mouse” who carries the number 12 and the pride of the College on his shoulders—Francis John T. Munsayac. Off court: I am Francis Often called Cis by his friends, this 21-year old point guard found his love for basketball when he was three. He shared that he formally enrolled in a basketball clinic when he was seven years old and joined a varsity team when he was in grade three. “First league ko no’n half court lang, pero ang saya. Part na ‘yon ng buhay ko,” Munsayac said. One might say from Munsayac’s progressive fame and improving play that he came from a line of basketball players, but he said that only his father played the sport and was not even part of big leagues. His father, together with his late grandfather, encouraged the younger Munsayac to play the game, and since he enjoyed the sport, he pursued it. He was recruited in 2012, saying that he immediately felt at home in EAC. The feeling of belongingness and ease made him stay up to date. Aside from basketball, Munsayac also enjoys playing volleyball—the sport of his mother. “Sporty akong tao pero hindi ako magaling,” Munsayac admitted, half laughing. Outside the court, you could catch Munsayac bonding with his friends. “’Pag wala ako sa bahay, nando’n ako sa kanila [high school friends],” he chuckled. He described himself as someone approachable and friendly, which was seconded by his teammates. “Sobrang kulit ko rin na tao. Saka, hindi ako mayabang!” he claimed. From time to time, you might also share a ride on an elevator when he has classes and is free from training. As of now, his priorities are set on basketball and NCAA, saying that he waited a year to play again, although he admitted that he also wants to focus on his studies. And since it is no mystery why balancing time between studies and sports is never an easy job, Munsayac held tight to a sliver of hope that his dedication to sports and his studies would not outweigh each other. On court: I am Munsayac It was a day like any other. Practice was almost over and Munsayac had back spasms that bothered him. He fell to the floor, hip first, followed by his teammate crushing on his right knee, almost instantly hearing a snap. The first diagnosis was anterior cruciate ligament tear of the knee—an injury that crushes an athlete’s dreams. Munsayac was no different, he felt his world crumble. However, on the second diagnosis, the doctor confirmed a less severe injury called the medial collateral ligament tear of the knee. After that, our Mighty Mouse felt hope slowly creep back. He said that his late grandfather is his greatest inspiration and that, if it weren’t for him, Munsayac would have stopped playing competitive basketball after the injury. Munsayac shared that his grandfather was not aware of his injury. He said that he kept making excuses for his orthotics so that his grandfather would not worry. “No’ng namatay s’ya sabi ko maglalaro na lang ako kasi baka malungkot ‘yong lolo ko sa taas. Gusto talaga kasi n’ya akong pinapanood maglaro,” he added. After almost three months of rehabilitation in a physical therapy clinic, he returned to the College to continue the recovery process. Season 90 of the NCAA passed but Munsayac was nowhere to be seen as he was recovering from his knee injury. Season 91 commenced and Munsayac was introduced as captain. “’Di ko nalang iniisip ‘yong knee ko ‘pag naglalaro kasi masakit talaga. Tumatagal naman ako ng buong game pero sumasakit,” he confessed. Standing at five-foot-five, issues about his height were never left out. As basketball requires agility, strength, and almost always, height, he was constantly on the limelight. “Disadvantage daw ‘yong height ko pero ginagawa ko ‘yong advantage kasi meron ako na wala sila tulad ng speed. ‘Yong disadvantage sa tingin nila, binabalik ko as advantage. Heart over height!” he emphasized. In addition to speed, he prides himself with his affinity to leadership. For him, the word “team captain” is merely a label. He values teamwork and friendship above anything else and that made him continue his tenure albeit the injury and the departure of his original teammates with big names such as Jan Niccolo Jamon and Noube Happi. “Hindi ko sila [Generals] iiwan. Ito na ang pamilya ko e,” Munsayac said. To reinforce motivation and development to his team, Munsayac often calls for an assessment after practices, especially when the performance was not satisfying. He believes that leadership is not always about leading and giving orders but also about following and listening to his team. On the same note, the Generals also bond outside the court to work on their teamwork. “Makulit sila [Generals] pero ‘pag nag-ayos, maayos talaga at walang halong kulit,” he added. I am the Team Captain of the EAC Generals “Kapag nagsama-sama na tayo, walang makakapigil sa atin.” Munsayac believes in this phrase, showing his faith in his team and the coaches, especially now that the Generals are finally an official member of NCAA. This heightened the pressure, but more importantly, the confidence of the team. According to him, their head coach, Mr. Andy de Guzman, is like a friend to them, but when it comes to the court and the training proper, he makes a 360˚ turn. Their coach is devoted to working on the team’s improvement, which, according to Munsayac, they completely understand and appreciate. “Iniisip na lang namin na para sa amin naman ‘yong conditioning na ‘yon. Kasi minsan ‘pag deconditioned kami, bumabalik sa amin sa game—nagiging palpak. Once na sineryoso naman namin ‘yong practice, nakakasabay kami sa opponent,” Munsayac said. The team is composed of mostly rookies with only Munsayac, Jorem Morada, Christ Mejos as seniors to name a few. “Sana support nila [Emilians] kami, win or lose. Kasi kapag panalo, nando’n sila pero ‘pag talo, madalas wala sila. ‘Wag n’yo sana kami iwan kasi naglalaro kami ‘di lang para sa amin pero para rin sa kanila at sa school. We will give a good fight,” Munsayac pointed out. Although not perfect, it still cannot be denied that Francis Munsayac has his own genuine style. He has a knack of turning the negatives into positive and better. He believes in teamwork and leadership and implication of the words. Indeed, he is a good athlete with his speed and skills. But his dedication, enthusiasm, and loyalty separate him from the rest. He is not just a point guard, he is Francis Munsayac—the new team captain of the EAC Generals.