Tuesday, May 8, 2012

From Purefoods to B-MEG. From Fathers to Sons. by Carlo Pamintuan.

By Carlo Pamintuan (@carlo_pamintuan)

Photo by KC Cruz

Was Game 7 between B-MEG and Talk N’ Text just a sports event? Or was it a life experience? I wondered.

I watched the game with my dad at a family friend’s house in Angeles, Pampanga. We braced ourselves for a bitter ride home because Talk N’ Text seemed like they were destined to win another PBA championship. Then, the improbable happened. The Llamados stormed back. We shouted and high fived at every B-Meg stop or conversion. A game, in that highly charged moment, for me, for my dad, definitely no longer felt like just a game.

I’ve been a fan of the Purefoods franchise for as long as I can remember. Like many things in life, it was my father who eased me into the sport. Naturally, I inherited his allegiance.

Living in Pampanga, it was hard for us to watch games live. The cost was steep and the travel made it doubly hard. But even if I only knew the Purefoods TJ Hotdogs through the games I watched or the news articles I read, I felt close to them. It was an inexplicable connection. A huge fraction of my childhood was spent on following Purefoods. A big chunk of life’s lessons, therefore, I learned from the Hotdogs.

Jerry Codiñera taught me it’s important to hone your skills. He was not a 7-footer. He wasn’t very athletic. Yet he became one of the PBA’s best players because he perfected his mid-range jumper and became a defensive perfectionist.

Dindo Pumaren showed me it’s important to be consistent, to look past flashes of brilliance and concentrate on bringing the same effort night in and night out, to be what his team needed him to be.

Rey Evangelista taught me that humility disarms.

But as with any Purefoods fan, I was inevitably drawn to Alvin Patrimonio. How could you not love The Captain? He was a bull strong power forward. He owned a reliable jumper. He had a knack for sinking game winners. He was also the team’s unquestioned leader. And, he was one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.

After Cap retired, Purefoods went on to win a couple of championships. But as a long-time fan, I longed for something more. In post-Patrimonio championship games, and I watched all of them, I just can’t seem to remember any life-altering moment. Something was missing.

Apparently, I found it while watching the last 7 minutes of Game 7.

In this particular championship between B-MEG and Talk N’ Text, in this one game, I saw what was perhaps the only basketball moment I’ll ever need to see.

After Denzel Bowles made two free throws -- these were free throws no normal human being should ever make -- to complete B-MEG’s desperate rally and send Game 7 into overtime, I saw Patrimonio rush from the bench. Alvin crashed into Bowles and wrapped his import in the tightest embrace. What kind of Team Manager does that??? Cap was teary-eyed when he bear-hugged Denzel. Cap poured out his emotions on the court. A 4-time MVP expressed his happiness like a child.

I saw it. My dad saw it too.

Suddenly, I remembered why I love this league, why I love this team. My childhood flashed in front of my eyes. I recalled the joys and pains of being a young fan. I recalled the near fistfights with other boys because they said something ill about Cap or the Hotdogs. I remembered the bitter losses to Alaska. I remembered the glorious wins over San Miguel and Ginebra.

I also realized that the old Purefoods spirit is still there. It’s within this B-MEG team, even if the faces have all changed, even if a former tormentor is at the helm.

I knew my dad was just as moved by what we were witnessing. No words were exchanged. While a Captain shared his tears on television, a father offered meaningful silence and a son finally experienced the basketball catharsis he longed for. It was one of the best father and son moments we’ve shared in quite a while.

At that moment, uhm, hindi ako naiyak ha, napuwing lang ako.

Then I looked at my dad. Napuwing din pala siya. CP


  1. Wow! im having a goosebumps reading this..napuwing din ako nung time na nanalo na ang fave team of all time ko na BMEG. ;)

  2. I exactly feel the same way with the writer as me and my dad had the same wconnection when watching a Purefooods/B-MEG game :)

  3. Wow! So nice to know na d lang pala ko ang die hard fan ng purefoods franchise and the lion heart the captain. From coney island to Bmeg all the way!..

  4. 1988, i got hooked up with PBA because of the Captain..i was 7 yrs old then...now i'm all grown up, still a solid alvin fan!! I support BMEG coz Captain is still behind the team :)


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