A PAIR of PBA legends remembered with fondness and pride the rare opportunity they had of working with the late Comedy King Dolphy.
Fortunato `Atoy’ Co and Ricky Brown did a movie each with the veteran comedian in the eighties and nineties. Co starred with him in the blockbuster movie Abrakadabra while Brown shared the limelight with Dolphy in the hit comedy-action flick Action Is Missing: Crack Platoon.
Long retired, both players described the experience as extraordinary and overwhelming.
“It was a big privilege for me. Tayo naman, basketball player, hindi naman talaga showbiz. Kaya malaking karangalan sa akin na ma line up sa isang movie starring the Comedy King,” said Co, the former Crispa Redmanizer hotshot, the league MVP in 1979 and the first player to reach the 5,000- and 10,000-point plateau.
The PBA's `Fortune Cookie’ played the role of a prison toughie named `Boy Ponga’ whom Dolphy helped escape in a riot of a movie which Co admitted he had a lot of fun doing. Another PBA player, Jimmy Santos, was also cast in the role of the bumbling `Genie’ who gave special powers to the carpenter Aladdin, the role played by Dolphy.
Brown on the other hand, was Lieutenant Longshot who was the superior of Private Kandirit (Dolphy) in their 1987 film that was a spoof of the Chuck Norris-starrer Missing In Action. It was shot on location at Tagaytay for six weeks at a time when Brown was recuperating from an injury.
“I feel honored and blessed. It was a lot of fun (doing the movie). I remember working with Francis Magalona and Paquito Diaz (Sgt. Bognot). It was a fun and relax atmosphere that was all initiated by Dolphy,” said the 55-year-old Fil-Am guard, who is in the country to receive his Hall of Fame and 25 Greatest Players awards from the pro league.
Now jokingly referring to himself as a 'triple citizen' – Filipino, Chinese, and senior citizen, Co also appeared with Dolphy in the popular sitcom John 'N Marsha twice, and did the same in Home Along The Riles.
“Star struck,” he said when asked what it felt like the first time he was on the set with the veteran comedian. “Noong lumalaki kasi ako sa Daet, puro pelikula ni Dolphy ang pinapanood ko. Kaya hindi ko alam kung ano ang sasabihin sa kanya nung unang makaharap ko siya.”
Like most comedians, Dolphy was quiet and unassuming behind the cameras, the two cage greats said.
“He was a very kind and sincere person. He’s a funny guy, but soft-spoken, very generous and passionate. And he makes sure I’m very comfortable despite the fact that there were people who were not receptive to me doing the role,” said Brown, who was the personal choice of Dolphy for the movie.
Co added: “He was very professional. Akala mo comedy-comedy siya sa harap ng camera, pero very serious siya. Nakikipag-kuwentuhan din naman, parang barkada, pero andun `yung respeto.”
And the two players' most memorable moment with Pidol?
“Ako 'yung to be put in a box with him, kaming dalawa lang ang magka-eksena, “ said Co, whose funny prison scene with Dolphy lasted for almost four minutes. “Dream come true para sa akin `yun.”
Brown said two of the comedian’s children visited him at his Artesia, California residence and gave the former PBA MVP a framed picture of him and their father taken on the set of their movie 24 years ago.
“That was April of 2011. I was really very surprised. It was a framed photo of the two of us from the movie, which Dolphy personally signed,” said Brown of the picture now prominently displayed in his Facebook account.
“That framed picture is a treasure to me. I really cherished it a lot.”
For more stories about the Comedy King's death, turn to Pep.ph's tribute page.