Ed Ducut’s family was not that poor. His father, Eduardo Sr. was an employee at Subic. Ed lived and grew up in Barangay San Pedro, Lubao in Pampanga with five brothers and two sisters, his dad and a wonderful mother, Natalia Ducut.
They had little money and few worldly properties, but plenty of love and attention. Ed was happy and energetic. Mother Natalia taught him, his brothers and sisters that no matter how poor a person was, he or she could still afford to dream.
Ed’s dream is sports—basketball. By the time he was a teener, he can shoot the ball well, dribble, and because he was already tall at that age, rebound. Assets that earned him invitations to play in sandlot leagues in his province and even in towns in nearby Bataan and Zambales.
When he reached college, he became a Colegio de San Juan de Letran mainstay in the NCAA and helped the Knights win the championship in his rookie year in 1979. His coach then was Nemie Villegas, who, not only believed in him but taught him to believe in himself.
Ducut stayed as a Knight for only three years as a result players fights between Letran and La Salle that almost ruined the country’s premier collegiate league as he found himself wearing the Palanca family-owned St. George Whiskey uniform playing in the now defunct MICAA (Manila Industrial Commercial Athletic Association) amateur league in 1981.
Ed continued to wear the Palanca franchise uniform when its owner Honey Boy Palanca shed off the franchise’s amateur status and transferred to the professional Philippine Association.
It was here, while playing for Ginebra San Miguel (then still owned by the Palanca family) that he met his idol and guru, Robert “Sonny” Jaworski, who was to become the team’s playing-coach.
“It was coach Sonny who taught me the difference between having a dream and showing conviction,” Ed told this writer in Tagalog in a chance interview last week at his and his wife’s residence in Barangay San Roque, Floridablanca, Pampanga.”
“Tuwing magkaka-usap kami lagi niyang sinasabi sa akin na dapat magkaroon ako ng pangarap, kahit maliit lang pero tutuparin ko. Simple lamang naman akong tao kaya simple din lang ang pangarap ko. Yan ang kaisipang namana ko sa parents ko,” Ed said.
“Binata ako, siyempre di maiwasan gastos dito, gastos dun. Sinabihan din ako ni coach, mag-ipon ako. He told me my playing days are limited kaya huwag ko daw sayangin ito,” Ed recalled.
“Kilala ko naman an sarili ko. True, I was able to play in the PBA alam ko na hindi naman ako magiging superstar na susuweldo ng milyon-milyon tulad ng iba. Kaya payak lang ang dream ko, “ Ed said.
“I was still single nang simulang magkasama kami ni coach Sonny, pero natanim na sa isipan ko ang mga pangaral niya. When my wife (Carmencita) and I got married in 1985, handang-handa na ako,” he related. “One year palang kaming mag-asawa, nakabili na ako ng 400 square meter na lupa dito San Roque na pinagpatayuan ko ng bahay.”
When he called it quits in 1991, after playing for eight years with Ginebra and two years with Shell, he already had bought a tricycle and a passenger jeepney to tide the family up in retirement.
He was a member of the Gin Kings who captured the 1986 Open Conference crown and andnthe1988 All Filipino diadem along with, among others, Chito and Joey Loyzaga, Dante Gonzalgo, Joey Marquez, Rolando Buhay, Leo Isaac, and Mike Advani.
“Nakabili din ako ng maliit na two hectare farm land na pinapauahan ko at umaani ng palay.
“Malaki talaga ang naitulong sa akin ng basketball, particularly ng PBA,” he asserted. “Ang apat na anak nakapag-aral at nakatapos lahat as scholars ng PBA trust fund,” Ed said in reference to his all-boy brood of Eric, a nursing graduate, Chris, Eduardo Jr., who earned an aircraft maintenance degree, and Ron, hotel and restaurant management graduate.
Ed’s family though is still mourning death of Chris, who passed away Last July 30 due to a vehicular accident at a young age of 29.
Otherwise, Ed assured, “Masaya naman kaming mag-anak. Hindi kinukulang, hindi din naman sumusobra. Sapat lang at nakakatulong pa sa kamag-anak at nangangailangan. Lahat ng ito ay utang ko sa basketball at sa simpleng pangarap naipununla sa isipan ko ng Nanay ko at ni coach Sonny.”