BEFORE Jerie Pingoy, there was Jerry Pingoy.
The X-generation may only be familiar with the Far Eastern University prodigy whom many considered as the biggest star in juniors basketball today, unaware that basketball runs in the blood of this Cebuano hotshot being the son of former PBA player and University of the Visayas standout Jerry Pingoy.
Now retired at age 52, the elder Pingoy never missed the chance to watch the UAAP games of his 17-year-old child with former volleyball player Gina Abejo.
And he was a proud father at courtside of the Smart-Araneta Coliseum when Pingoy steered the Baby Tamaraws to their first juniors championship in the last 25 years following a 2-0 sweep of former champion National University on Thursday afternoon.
Jerie, adjudged the juniors MVP for the second straight season, torched the Bulldogs for 32 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists in the deciding Game Two of the Finals.
“Siyempre proud papa tayo,” said the elder Pingoy, who was personally scouted, plucked out of UV, and brought to Manila by former senator and coach Freddie Webb as a 19-year-old.
Jerry sees a lot of himself in his son, pointing out that both of them had been blessed with a high vertical leap. The father was dubbed as the `Flying Carpet,’ during his three-year stint in the PBA from 1982-84.
“Nagda-dunk kasi ako noon,” said the father, who played as a point guard. “Malakas akong tumalon. Namana sa akin `yun ni Koko (Jerie’s nickname). Minsan parang nakikita ko yung sarili ko sa kanya."
Pingoy played for Webb with Yco in the old MICAA together with the likes of Frankie Lim, Chuck Barrero, and JB Yango. Shortly after, he transferred to Apcor under coach Turo Valenzona and had for teammates Yoyoy Villamin, Padim Israel, Bai Cristobal, and Mon Cruz.
When he turned pro in 1982, he suited up for Gilbey’s Gin for a season, and then played the next two for Tanduay.
Jerry drifted back to the amateurs after a three-year stint with the PBA, eventually hooking up with Army Jungle Fighters in the old PABL (Philippine Amateur Basketball League) where he played with current UST coach Pido Jarencio.
He played his final active year suiting up for Swift in 1987 under coach Virgil Villavincencio and assistant Yeng Guiao.
Like any former basketball player, Jerry dreams of some day seeing his son follow in his footsteps and play in Asia’s pioneering pro league. He has no doubt Jerie has a bright future ahead of him.
“Ibang klase yang bata na yan. Mabait at responsable,” he said of his son, an altar boy back in Cebu.
“Sana nga (maka-akyat ng PBA),” the elder Pingoy continued. “Hindi sa mayabang tayo na papa, pero talagang may future ang bata. Mahirapan `yung magde-depensa sa kanya kasi magaling mag-dribble, may shooting, assist, at may leadership pa. Kaya niyang madala `yung team niya.”