FORMER Letran star Kevin Alas already considered himself extremely lucky at the prospect of having his photo taken with Kobe Bryant on Monday.
Alas savored the chance to get up close with the NBA superstar after becoming one of the winners of an online promotion launched by Bryant's sponsor Lenovo, only to be told by organizers that autograph requests would not be entertained.
But it seems fortune favors the bold.
As soon as Alas got the chance, the amateur standout decided to emulate his hardcourt idol who had lived by the 'carpe diem' (latin for "seize the day") motto.
“Humanap ako ng timing, tapos sabi ko, ‘Can you sign my shoes?’ Sabi niya, ‘Sure.’ tapos nakita niya Mambacurial, pinirmahan niya agad!” the Gilas cadet pool mainstay recalled.
Alas was in basketball heaven after Bryant autographed the left pair of the Nike Kobe 8 Mambacurial shoe he was wearing.
“Hindi ko ma-express ‘yung feeling kasi sobrang saya ko. Inexpect ko lang na mag-papicture kasi bawal daw magpa-autograph. Kaya super happy na nakapagpapirma ako,” Alas exulted.
In the case of Luis Castro, not winning in the Lenovo contest did not stop him from meeting his idol. But he, too, was lucky to have his Kobe Bryant NBA card signed.
The 15-year-old varsity player from Faith Academy attended Monday’s press conference at the Resorts World Manila for the opportunity to see the 'Black Mamba' in person. Emulating Kobe's moves to get past defenders, Castro managed to break through Bryant's security detail and ask for an autograph.
“It feels very shocking,” said Castro, who was still shaking moments after the 15-time NBA All-Star signed his basketball card.
“It’s very rare for people like him to sign stuff.”
For Gladys Glorioso, who may not have any signed memorabilia, it was enough that she was able to hug the Lakers superstar.
The painter, in a wheelchair due to a polio condition that she suffered when she was eight months old, said she greeted Bryant with a "Happy Birthday!" and gave him a gift. The Lakers stalwart who will turn 35 on August 23 responded by giving her a hug.
“Tapos may binigay ako sa kanya,” said Glorioso. “In-accept naman niya.”
Glorioso said that she has been a fan of the high-scoring guard since 2006.
“Nanonood talaga ako ng NBA. Wala naman akong particular na favorite player pero on the spot na lang, naging paborito ko na siya,” Glorioso said.
Glorioso was so happy that that she even hugged a reporter who interviewed her.
“Masaya talaga ako,” said a speechless Glorioso.