Finally. After months of planning (and bugging my wife to help me set this up), I’m here. Let me introduce myself. I am Gary Villanueva. I am happily married to Janice Crisostomo Villanueva. I am dad to Coby, 11 years old, Zach who is 9, and to Reese who is two.
Wow, who wouuld have thought that I would be doing something like this. Me, the old man, the elder statesman, writing a blog. Nakiki- in. Mwahahaha. Nag-papabata? I hope this doesn’t hurt. Now what to write about? Hmmm. Janice said to write about daddy stuff and sports. One of my friends said to write about life as a 40 plus person. I wanted to write, or should I say rant about stuff. I wanted it to be like a Chelsea Lately type of blog, ranting here, bitching there. So after careful thinking, I just to decided to write about: Sports, being a dad, being a forty something, and the ocassional ranting. Hehehe, in other words everything everyone suggested plus more. So here it goes…
Talk about full circles. In 1996,(if memory serves me correctly) a group of Ateneans, met in the Ateneo law School libraray in Makati. They were forming,an alumni league for the Ateneans. The league was thought of by these guys, because of the success of ABLE, The Ateneo Basketbal League,which at that time was a Father and son league. Dads and sons play together against other father and son teams. After the first meeting, almost all the details were ironed out. I don’t recall how many teams joined, maybe 8 to 10, of different batches. The teams were named after colors, and drew lots as to what their “colors” would be. We drew the color yellow, so we were the “Yellow Team.” Some of my teammates then were the three Arroyos, Bong, Bing, Blue, Red Peneyra, Ricky Santiago, Charlie Gatmaitan,Terry Alikpala,Nelson Regalado, Poopi Estrella, the Galicia brothers, Edwin the “Battlestar” and Titos, Carlo Severino, and our top guns Alfie Manlulu, Gene Afable and Rico Santiago.Our first year on the league, we finished in the semis but didn’t advance to the finals. The next year, Gene and Alfie left, but in their stead we were able to get Len Mumar and the underrated Roman Romulo. We advanced to the finals, and eventually won the championship. At that time, Suzette Gatmaitan, Charlie’s better half,was pregnant. The baby was our official mascot, and was nicknamed “Yellow Baby.” Yellow baby would be a boy and named Carlos. Please rememember this.
Fast forward to 2002. The ABLE, was now the ABL. Chiqui Paterno’s baby was in it’s 2nd year of existence when I first joined. I had two teams then, Team Samson, and Team Torres. Team Samson, made it to the semis, but didn’d advance further. Team Torres, made up of mostly Ateneo HS 4A 1988 guys, who I play pickup ball with in Acropolis every Saturday afternoon. Andrew Marcelo, Pio Batino, Nelson Regalado,Paolo Teodoro and Donnie Puno, wre some of my teammates then. We won just two games our initial year. In 2004, reunited with Bing and Blue Arroyo, and with Alfie, we won the ABL championship in our division. During those games, Donnie’s sun Sandro, who was 8, was our “mascot” and was there in all our games. My son, Coby was 7 at the time, was there also. Sandro and Coby would be playing and running around the venue, while their Dads would try to run on the court.
Fast forward to 2009, March 21 at the Blue Eagle Gym for the ABL championship in the Fr. Pabayo Division.In the 3rd quarter, Coby is bringing the ball upcourt, he passes to Sandro who is running hard on the right side. As he takes off, he passes the ball to the open Carlos underneath for the easy two points. Early in the season, when I found out that Coby would be teammates with Sandro and Carlos, I was really so excited. Carlos plays like his dad, crafty, aggressive, and has his father’s swagger. Sandro, plays power forward and center, unlike his dad who was our best non-Uaap point guard on the team. Sandro has hang time,speed and his fundamentals are awesome, especially on defense. Coby, likes to play in the open court and is great at stealing the ball. He shoots well from the outside, like, ahem. The championship game wasn’t even close. Team Pablo broke the game early on and cruised to the championship. Sandro finished 4th in the MVP race and was part of the mythical team. Carlos was 6th in the MVP race, while Coby was 15th. The MVP of the division was Martin Mendoza, son of Alber “Saint” Mendoza, HS86 and also an Abl veteran.
To play together, and eventually win a championship like their old men, wow! Feeling my age, feeling senti. My goal, is to eventually play with Coby in a team, who knows, maybe, with Sandro and Donnie, and Charlie and Carlos. Anim na kami, anyone want to join in? From ABLE to ABL, Full Circle indeed!!!