GROWING up, flying an aircraft already had a great appeal for Paul Zamar.
“Mataas ang pangarap niyan, (maging) piloto,” disclosed his father, San Miguel deputy coach Boycie Zamar.
While he never ended up being a pilot, Paul did soar high later in life by way the Zamars only know too well.
“Sabi ko (sa kanya) basketball na (lang),” said Boycie.
The younger Zamar, part of San Miguel’s deep and talented backcourt, followed his father by heart and began a career in a field that has been good to their family for a long time.
“Namulat si Paul na alam yung basketball is livelihood para sa akin,” Boycie said. “Nagustuhan at nahiligan (niya rin), at nakita niya na nakatapos siya ng pag-aaral through basketball. Lahat purely basketball.
“So sabi ko pag-butihan niya na yan dahil ang buhay nating basketbolista, lalo kaming mga coaches, we’re only good as our last practice, so we make the best out of it.”
Just a year since joining his father at San Miguel following an impressive rookie season with Blackwater, Paul has since won two championships despite playing as back-up to the 1-2 combo of veterans Chris Ross and Alex Cabagnot.
He and the rest of the Beermen were actually on the right path towards a grand slam until the team imploded midway into the season-ending Governors Cup.
But it took the younger Zamar a while before reaching the status he’s enjoying right now.
Selected in the fourth round by Barangay Ginebra San Miguel during the 2012 PBA Draft, the 5-foot-10 Zamar never got to sign with the Kings and became a rookie free agent.
He bounced around in local leagues, but his career appeared to be going nowhere that he was told by his father to just quit playing and find a regular job.
That only brought out the fire in the young Zamar to further prove himself.
“Yun yung time na hindi ako makatuntong sa PBA,” said Paul. “Dumating sa point na masyado akong emotional sa lahat ng sinasabi niya (Boycie).
“Pero mas gusto ko lalong i-prove na mali siya. Mas na-challenge ako na nandito na rin ako, Paninindigan ko na ang pagba-basketball.”
Paul, a product of University of the East like his father, went overseas and played for almost two years in Thailand, suiting up for Mono Vampire in the Thailand Basketball League.
“Kinailangan ko yung time na yun para mag-mature not only as a player but also as a person na matuto akong maging independent kaya umalis ako sa comfort zone ko,” said Paul.
The older Zamar, coach of the Philippine team that won the basketball gold in the 2001 Southeast Asian Games, admitted once telling his son about quitting basketball, not exactly to discourage him but to bring out the best in him.
A father only wants the best for his children, according to him.
“Sinabi ko sa kanya na hindi naman ako umabot sa PBA, na-draft lang ako. So the challenge for him is to step up, kasi someday, somehow he’s going to be a father which he is right now,” said Boycie of Paul, who is expecting his second child anytime this month.
Paul went on and carved out a name in Thailand, a stint that didn’t escape the prying eyes of Blackwater, which brought him back home and signed him to a contract in 2018.
The younger Zamar lost no time to prove he belonged in the PBA, making an immediate impact for the Elite, so much so he was named to the All-Rookie team at season’s end.
Then came an opportunity to join his father at San Miguel the year after, reuniting the two after being together at Cebuana Lhuillier in the PBA D-League.
Paul believed there was a reason for the long, tricky journey he trekked before finally realizing his dream of playing in the country’s premier pro league.
“May purpose lahat ng ginagawa mo, and everything you do, you do it for the glory of God,” he said.
Despite his basketball success, Paul is inclined to dream high.
“Hanggang ngayon nandiyan pa rin yung fascination ko sa mga eroplano,” he said.