CHRISTMAS is the time for loving and sharing, and as the popular song goes, the perfect Christmas is to be spent with the people we love and the people who love us dearly.
For these six sportsmen, it’s their family which they considered as God’s greatest gift to them during this Yuletide season. Not their championship trophies, not their material possessions.
San Mig Coffee point guard Mark Barroca couldn’t have asked Santa for any better present this Christmas than having a beautiful and loving wife Ruselle, and a charming little angel named Natalie Faith.
“Yung gift ko na maganda sa Christmas si Ruselle and si Baby Natalie ko,” said the gung-ho playmaker who goes by the moniker ‘Coffee Prince.'
For him, nothing compares to having the queen and princess of his life.
“Wala na yata pang mas magandang Christmas gift kaysa sa kanila,” he added.
Big Chill head coach Robert Sison said this year’s Christmas is probably the most special one for him as his first born will be turning five months old exactly on Christmas day.
“This Christmas is a very special one for me, because my wife and I are going to spend it with our first baby turning 5 months old on the 25th,” he said.
For him, it’s the time of the year when he cherishes the moments with his most prized possession, and at the same time, give thanks to God for all the blessings.
“My family is the best Christmas gift that I had ever received, and I will be forever grateful to God for all these blessings,” said the coach who’s still on the lookout for his first ever PBA D-League title.
“God has been good to me all my life. Christmas is one of the best time to give Him back the love, praise, and glory,” said Sison.
For incoming San Beda Red Lions team captain Rome dela Rosa and South Western University star center Benoit Mbala, nothing beats spending the most wonderful time of the year in the company of the most wonderful persons in their lives.
Dela Rosa considers the simple but complete gathering he had with his family in 2005 as the most memorable Christmas he had.
It was the last Christmas the San Beda forward spent with his grandfather Ernie, with whom he was very close to.
“It sticks out the most because that was the last time I spent Christmas with my Grandpa Ernie,” dela Rosa recalled.
Just the mere presence of his family and friends makes him feel contented and blessed, according to the son of former PBA player Romy dela Rosa.
With family members settled in different parts of the world, getting them together in a rare gathering to celebrate Christmas was the best that ever happened for Mbala.
The 6-foot-7 center realized that memorable Christmas in 2010 when almost the entire clan gathered together on Christmas Day in his homeland in Cameroon.
“My most memorable Christmas was the one I spent with almost my entire family, with my uncles, aunts, cousins, grandpa and grandma around,” recalled the 17-year-old SWU hotshot.
“Since most of our family members stay in different places, some of them even live out of the country (Cameroon), that it made me so happy to be with all them.
“And for me the best Christmas gift is to see them all in good condition and without problems,” he added.
For his part, San Sebastian star player Ronald Pascual considers the good health of his family as the best Christmas present for him.
The one-third of the Stags’ dreaded `Pinatubo Trio’ said his family serves as his biggest inspiration.
“Wish ko lang sana maging masaya ako lagi lalo na sa trabaho. At sana matupad ko lahat ng pangarap ko para sa family ko,” he said.
Alaska assistant coach Topex Robinson learned the value of family the hard way and considered his sad experience in 2009 as the best Christmas lesson he ever learned.
“It was my first Christmas away from my family,” said the former San Sebastian coach. “I was in the US back then. That's when I've realized how important it is being with the persons dear to you in this special day.”
From the Spin.ph (Sports Interactive Network) family, Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year to all.