Coco Martin bares basketball his first love, lists Yap, Agustin, Asaytono, Curry as his hoop idols
As a basketball player, actor Coco Martin describes himself as a defense-minded wingman. “Ano ako eh, small forward pero small,” he says with a laugh. Jerome Ascano

ACCLAIMED actor Coco Martin has portrayed so many roles in his career, including his current role as the police officer-turned-fugitive lead in Ang Probinsyano.

But what’s surprising is that behind the camera, he’s more than just a basketball fan or player but an actual part-time playing coach.

On Saturday during his launch as the newest endorser of Cobra Energy Drink at West Avenue Suites, Martin shared that despite his hectic and unhealthy schedule, he manages to sneak in some time for sports to keep himself fit.

In fact, before he became one of the busiest actors in the country, he was a lot busy on the basketball court.

“Actually before naman talaga ako pumasok sa showbiz, wala akong ibang ginawa kundi mag-basketball nang mag-basketball. Syempre bilang kabataan mas active (ako),” he recalled. “Pero noong napunta na ako sa pagtatrabaho, sabi ko nga bigyan lang ako ng regular na trabaho kahit ano, and siguro ito na ang destiny ko binigay sa akin ng Diyos na pagkakataon na makapagtrabaho sa showbiz ayun na naging busy na ako sa pagtatrabaho.”

“So ‘yung activity and sports, minsan talaga kahit mga two months ‘yan doon pumapasok ‘yan,” he added. “Syempre kailangan ko paghandaan ang mga role na gagawin ko. Doon ako mag-start na mag-basketball ulit and mag-gym.”

The versatile actor, who described himself as a defense-first wingman, shared that he himself has initiated basketball games with the Ang Probinsyano cast and staff for some recreation and fun.

“Actually noong nakaraan naman, kahit sobrang pagod at puyat siningit ko pa rin nagkaroon ako ng activities. Nagpa-basketball ako sa buong staff and crew saka sa mga artista ng mga Ang Probinsiyano,” said Martin, who plays the role of Cardo in the primetime soap opera.

“Ano ako eh, small forward pero small,” he said drawing laughter from the mediamen present. “(Pero) mas more on sa defense ako eh. Actually ganitong naglalaro kami, ako ang playing coach kasi mas doon ako sa strategy more than sa pagiging offensive (minded).”

Like any other basketball crazy Pinoy, Martin has former PBA greats Ato Agustin and Nelson Asaytono among his childhood heroes, while he currently looks up to James Yap in the PBA and Steph Curry in the NBA.

“Kumbaga syempre lahat naman ng Pinoy, ano tayo sa basketball tsaka sa boxing,” he said.“

“‘Yan si Stephen Curry (idol ko) pero sa local, matagal na akong hindi nakakanood. Dati [panahon] pa nina Ato Agustin, nila Asaytono, ang tagal na. (Ngayon) idol ko talaga si James Yap, sobrang idol ko si James Yap,” said Martin, who hopes to watch the PBA live when his schedule permits it. 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @meilinspin