Codiñera, baseball great, 77

MANILA, Philippines – Filomeno “Boy” Codiñera struggled on his wheelchair up the ramp, assisted by his two sons and friends.

It was the PSA Awards Night and Codiñera, enfeebled and wheelchair-bound, was being cited for his lifetime achievement.

Big Boy won’t miss it for the world. He was a sportsman and loved sports.

“He was really the one who excelled in sports,” Codiñera’s son, Jerry, said during the awards rites.

Jerry, the PBA legend and Arellano coach, made a name for himself in basketball. Two other Codiñera sons, Harmon and Pat, also went to basketball.

“He passed it down to us to excel in every sport we enter in. Failure is not an option for him,” said Jerry.

But at the awards rites, he was only a shell of the man who lorded it over the local diamonds in late 50s and 60s, at one time making the Guinness Book of Records for hitting five (or seven?) consecutive doubles in a single game in the world tilt.

He had the built for baseball, tall, stocky, a power hitter and third baseman for the Canlubang Barons. No other Filipino batter made the feat.

“For me, he is a great coach. He is one of a kind. Strict in the field but he has a soft heart outside. During my playing years and when I was starting my coaching career, he was always there every step of the way,” she said.

“I owe him everything I achieved; he was the first to trust me. He touched so many lives of softball and baseball players,” she added.

Codiñera made a big impact on the diamond from his varsity days at University of Santo Tomas to his stints with the Canlubang Sugar Barons and the national team.

He was part of the Phl team that won the bronze medal in the 1966 World Softball Championships and even made it to the Guinness Book of World Records when he hit seven consecutive doubles in the 1968 worlds.

He later coached the Blu Boys and Blu Girls and collegiate squads including Adamson.