IF you found out you only have three years left to live, what’s the first thing in your bucket list you’d want to cross out?
For Joshua Tan, it’s a no-brainer: meet the players from his favorite team Barangay Ginebra.
The 17-year-old diehard Ginebra fan finally realized his dream as he met his idols personally for the first time after the Gin Kings' practice on Saturday at Upper Deck gym.
Tan has had an enlarged heart since birth, a condition that leaves him easily tired and prone to sickness.
The heart ailment also unfortunately left him terminally ill, according to his aunt Cristina dela Cruz, who accompanied him along with Tan’s siblings, traveling from Imus, Cavite.
“Hindi na po siya namin napagamot, kasi sabi ng doctor wala na raw pag-asa,” Dela Cruz disclosed in a short chat with SPIN.ph. “Twenty years (old) na lang daw, mamamatay na yung bata.”
That’s why they made a video with Tan requesting to meet his idols, a Twitter post in which Gin Kings assistant coach Richard del Rosario was tagged.
“When I saw the video, there were no second thoughts,” Del Rosario said. “I contacted yung nag-tweet and arranged this. It’s a small thing that we can do for him, kasi kami, we’re battling every day sa job namin, pero yung sa kanya, bigger battle: he’s battling for his life. And if we can do a little thing to make him happy and fulfill this dream, then why not? I’m happy the players responded.”
“For me, mas malaki yung naibigay niya sa amin, kaysa yung nabigay naming happiness sa kanya, because you just realize how lucky and blessed you are when you see kids struggling like that,” he added.
LA Tenorio, who posed for a photo with Tan and gave him a signed ball, echoed Del Rosario’s sentiment.
“It’s another wake-up call for us that kung ano yung mayroong blessings na dumadaan sa amin, we should be thankful and we should be contented kung ano ang mayroon kami ngayon,” the Gin Kings star said.
“It inspires us even more to really work hard, kasi may mga batang katulad ni Josh na nagkakasakit na lumalakas pag nakikita kami, so more than for him, I think it’s a blessing for us.”
Tan, who doesn’t go to school anymore and who stays with his grandmother after his parents abandoned him and his siblings, was simply glad to meet the Gin Kings in person.
“Masaya po ako,” the teenager, whose condition also causes him to have a speech defect, said slowly. “Matagal na po (akong fan). Nung time pa ni Jaworski.”
“Ngayon ko lang sila na-meet, pero lagi po ako nanonood ng Ginebra,” he added as he’s also set to watch their Philippine Cup game against San Miguel Beer on Sunday live at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
And Tan has one more wish for the reigning Governors’ Cup champions.
“Gusto ko po sana back-to-back champion sila,” he said.
While it remains to be seen, at least his first wish has already been granted.