A CHAMPIONSHIP has always eluded Paul Zamar despite being one of the fiercest competitors on the basketball court, while also being one of the nicest people off the playing floor.
Zamar has endured fruitless stints in the UAAP with University of the East and heartbreaking losses in the D-League with Cebuana Lhuillier and CaféFrance, but he now gets his chance at a major trophy but with a bitter twist.
The 30-year-old guard’s chance at an elusive title comes at the expense of his countrymen as his Mono Vampire tangles with San Miguel Alab Pilipinas in a best-of-five Asean Basketball League (ABL) Finals starting on Sunday at the Sta. Rosa Multipurpose Complex.
“I’m taking every game as a challenge. Naniniwala talaga ako sa timing ni God. Pag para sayo, ibibigay at ibibigay yan,” Zamar told SPIN.ph.
“Siyempre kailangan gawin mo din yung part mo to give your best in every game,” he added.
Though he’ll be playing for the opposing team, Zamar still relishes the experience of playing in a finals series at home knowing the passion of Filipino fans. For the former Red Warrior, it’s almost like playing in two home venues.
“Excited. Taga dito ako at alam ko ang passion ng lahat ng Pinoy pagdating sa basketball. Iba talaga maglaro at suporta ng mga Pilipino,” Zamar said.
“Masaya ako kasi kahit hindi ako sa team nila, makakalaro ko pa rin sila,” he added.
The 5-foot-11 guard is putting up averages of 16.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists in nearly 30 minutes of action as a heritage import for Mono, but their squad has been unsuccessful against Alab in the eliminations.
Mono dropped both games against Alab, getting blown out at home before a heartbreaking loss on Renaldo Balkman’s game-winner in Bulacan.
Though he understands that it will be tough, Zamar believes that they shouldn’t be taken lightly.
“Very challenging para sa amin makalaban ang Alab, malalim ang bench nila. Pero di ko rin ma-underestimate ang bench namin. Sabi nga nila, bilog ang bola, di natin masasabi,” Zamar said.
“Basta gagawin namin best namin para manalo. Para sa akin talented both teams. The fact na nakapasok kami pareho ng finals already says something.”