Sunday, December 4, 2011

For The Love Of The Game

 "Mallari had 10 stitches on his eye but he is back."Matapang si Mallari."(Mallari was very brave). This was  commented by one of the anchor persons at the Big Chill Superchargers-Freego Jeans game at the Adamson University last December 1st, Thursday. My daughter Kyle and I arrived late and the gymnasium was already packed. Adamson University is home to the Freego jeans team. But no matter,we were there to watch Alex Mallari play again.

My dad once said that last names are words that have meanings. Like the names  Smith, Black, Turner and Doe. The name Mallari is a Pampango word (from Pampanga, one of the provinces in the Philippines)which means "probably" or" it can happen"(pwede in Tagalog). In a way it is a positive thing, if you ask me. I happen to be a  Mallari as well.

But Alex's story is different. A lot of people especially his fans which are increasing every day do not know that he is originally from California. Though his Dad was born in the Philippines, he grew up in California as well. It was his Grandpa  who grew up in the Philippines, who is my Dad's younger brother. And the last time he visited the country was a few months before my dad passed away. That was in  May of 1987 and never returned after that.

So how come a Californian who used to be an MVP preferred to play in the Phillippine Basketball Association Developmental League instead? That I still need to find out. Whatever his reasons were, will go back to what the anchorman said. It was very brave of him to leave the US and try his luck here. Perhaps one can not even consider it as luck.The first time my kids and I watched him on television we knew why he became  an MVP. He plays clean. Unlike other players who will resort to elbowing and even tackling just to steal the ball, with Alex it is just pure skill and speed. Making him left handed even added to that charm which I only noticed while watching  one of his games. And every time that I do, I not only feel a sense of pride because he is my nephew but a sense of respect, for the choices that he made and the dream  he wants to achieve... all for the love of the game.
Credits to Bigchill Superchargers Official Facebook Fanpage for the images.