Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Winner in His Own Right

My daughter Kyle could not contain her excitement when she told that Alex Mallari was the third pick overall for the PBA Draft last Sunday, August 19, 2012. Honestly I was not really surprised as my nephew had been a favorite even before the draft had started. I could not help but smile how he had gone a long way.

( A  few days before the PBA draft)

When Alex first came to the country more than a year ago, her aunt had sent a message to all his relatives that had a facebook account, even adding that before he left CA, his grandparents told him of the places and relatives that he needed to visit. I thought then that he was just a tourist but when I started browsing his profile photos, I was surprised to see that he was wearing a basketball jersey and being interviewed by a courtside reporter. That was when I sent him a message and introduced myself which he kindly responded. When I told my kids about these,  they turned to google to know more about him, even stumbling a picture of a young Alex during his days at Lewis - State Clark College. From then on, we became avid fans, always looking at the updates for every game, making sure to watch him if my schedule permits and if the venue is accessible to our place. Sadly, we only got to see him live twice since then but every time we do, we get to bring him some "ensaymada, " which was more than enough excuse so we can to talk and hug him for a few minutes once the game had ended.

Seemed it was like yesterday when we watched and took a video of that first game which we uploaded so that his family can watched it back home. And that last game where he just recovered from an eye injury, leaving him ten stitches, but still managed to play and score for his team, though loosing the game in the end. That was when I told him, "keep safe," pointing to his left eye, which was slightly red from the injury.

Perhaps a lot of us may think that basketball players who came from abroad  have all the advantage of entering the Philippine Basketball League. As far as height, built and looks are concerned, people may think that these players can pull all the strings to their benefit. But what others do not know is that they also have their share of challenges, ridicule and discrimination. Same thing when our love ones choose to live and work for a foreign country. My kids and I were not blind with the thread of comments we read at one point when Alex was getting negative feedback on how he played his games. I told them they should get used to it because it was part of being in the limelight. What matters is we know him better than other people do. And that some are just really good in giving feedback and in finding other people's faults.

All too often we forgot that hard work and determination can never dampen one's spirit in order to achieve a dream. That feedback, subjective or otherwise can only add fuel to continue what had been started. Not even distance, loneliness or the longing to be home during special occasions or time of illness can affect one's sense of focus and professionalism just to reach that certain goal. Some perhaps were just born lucky as others were born winners.

(Alex's defining moment when PETRON  finally chose him to be part of its  team)

The Robinson's Place at Ermita, Manila was filled with basketball fans and spectators. I told my kids it will be hard to get near him unlike before as he is now a celebrity in his own right with reporters asking for interviews left and right. But my daughter Kyle would not budge. "Once he sees us, he will recognize us immediately." I know that. Alex is one person who has his two feet planted firmly on the ground and remembers his humble beginnings. I added there will be other days that we will be able to talk to him again. I even assured them that day will not be long from now.

Besides, what matters is that he finally got what he deserved and  we should thank him for making us all proud.

(image credit to and Ms Miakka Lim's  photos)

1 comment:

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