ALMOST four years ago, we wrote about this high school kid representing Western Visayas in the Palarong Pambansa who looked and acted like James Yap, down to his mannerism inside the court.
That kid, named John Paul Calvo, was a high school phenom from Iloilo who wasn't shy to admit that he strives to play like his idol and his fellow Ilonggo.
To refresh your memory, here's the video:
Well, it turned out that kid, like his idol, eventually took his act to Manila where he had an impressive career with Letran - where he became known as JP Calvo - in the NCAA and, again like Yap, made the PBA as the 11th pick overall of Columbian.
On Wednesday night, the Columbian rookie guard savored another high when he played against Yap for the first time in the PBA. Incidentally, the two went to the same high school, Hua Siong College, before taking their act to Manila.
Though the two didn’t guard each other during the game, Calvo said he was over the moon to be in the same court with his childhood idol.
“Siyempre, masaya dahil ‘yung idol mo nakalaro mo na. Kumbaga ‘yung dream mo, nakalaro ka na tapos ‘yung idol mo, nakalaro mo pa. Parang accomplishment ‘yung nangyari. Nanalo pa kami. Sobrang saya,” said Calvo.
Calvo, however, said he had to set aside his admiration for Yap and focus on the game which Columbian eventually won, 85-82, over Rain or Shine.
“Nung kanina, siyempre sa laro, iba na usapan eh. Siguro sa labas, idol ko siya pero pagdating sa laro, siyempre kailangan namin manalo. Kailangan maglaro ng maayos,” said Calvo, who contributed eight points, eight assists, and five rebounds in the victory.
Calvo said no matter what happens to his career, he will always be grateful to Yap for inspiring generations of Ilonggo players to dream big.
“Respeto ako sa kanya. Idol ko siya since bata ako. Talagang nag-focus ako. Hindi ko inisip ‘yun para makapaglaro ako ng maayos,” Calvo said.