There are many ways to describe my dad but my most favorite one of all is steady.
Growing up, my dad has and still is the steadiest man I know. No matter what the day, hour, or situation, you can expect my dad to remain calm and levelheaded at all times.
He is the first person I call when I find myself in a pickle and the voice I constantly hear in my head when making decisions. He was (and continues to be) my go-to guy and though I denied it when I was younger, the person I am most similar with.
We share the same traits, interests, and yes, even facial features. To me, he is simply my dad but as growing up teaches you, you realize that your parents, at one time, were more than just parents; They were individuals who had their own stories, adventures, challenges, and their own sacrifices.
This truth was particularly highlighted to me when a kind article by Fidel Mangonon 3rd revealed that my dad had the best all-Filipino conference by a San Miguel Beermen rookie in all of history. This was both humbling and shocking to my family simply because as with anything in his life, my dad rarely talked about himself or his many string of achievements.
My dad, who played a total of 745 games during his entire basketball career from 1980 to 1994, often talked about the lessons he learned from defeat rather than the triumphs he gained from his victories. He shared stories with me and my siblings not to gloat about past glory but rather to teach us a thing or two about resilience, loyalty, and passion. My dad rarely talks about himself and only does when there is a lesson to share.
As a coach, my dad’s goal is not to be the top dog but rather to be a voice of wisdom and counsel to those he has the opportunity to share them with. He often tells me that as a coach, his biggest desire is not to be recognized or applauded but rather to share what learned through the years in the hopes of helping younger players in making decisions, on and off the court.
He always believed that hard work, integrity and authenticity were more important than pot licking or the devious schemes others used to get ahead. He was never about tooting his own horn rather every day, my dad went to work with one mission in mind, “What can I do to help?”
I cannot even imagine all the challenges my dad had to go through in order to get to where he is today. Growing up in a small town in Cebu, my dad literally came from nothing – no connections, no elite scholarships, no backing from big corporations. He was simply a boy who dreamed of big things and prayed for opportunities to be able to provide for his family.
With nothing but faith, sheer determination and passion, my dad did all that he could to make his dreams come true. Whenever we’d asked him what kept him going, he always said that it was his love for his family – he knew his family needed him.
And while I know that my dad is somewhat proud of his long-standing career, he would be the first to tell you that his greatest achievements are not the numbers he achieved or the championships he helped win, but rather his happy home life with his wife – my mom, Chay – his four children, and his grandkids.
Yes, my dad loves what he does but he has never been defined by it. This is why he never, not once, make choices that were based on greed or power but rather based on passion and pure love for the game.
My dad is a constant reminder that yes, superheroes exist, and just like real superheroes, they are often unseen by the masses because they are more focused on serving others than themselves.
Happy Father’s Day, daddy! I am proud to be your daughter.