UNKNOWN to Jay Washington, watching from ringside of the Mall of Asia Arena on Friday night was the man who helped him develop into the PBA player that he is today.
To the surprise of the Rain or Shine big man, waiting for him outside the dugout was Michael Murphy, who served as one of his dorm parents and assistant coaches during his high school stint at Masters School, a private international school in Dobbs Ferry, New York where Washington is listed as one of its most notable alumni.
Murphy, married to a Filipina, is in the country for abrief vacation and lost no time tracking down and personally meeting one of his former players during the Philippine Cup game between San Miguel and Rain or Shine.
He gave a stunned JWash a warm hug and chatted a little bit before they walked out of the arena together.
The Fil-Am forward knew Murphy was in town but didn’t expect him to be in the game.
“It’s awesome and so unexpected. I saw it early on in Instagram but to see him in the game is unexpected,” said Washington. “It’s cool, man.”
The 35-year-old Washington added it’s been years since he last saw his high school mentor and was truly good seeing him in person.
“We used to just call him Mr. Murphy,” Washington recalled of his time together with Murphy at Masters School where he studied from 10th to 12th grade.
“I was a boarding student there and he made it easy back then for me as a basketball player.”
For someone as young as Washington back then, he said Murphy was a guiding light for him and helped him become a better player.
“I don’t know how much I listened to him but definitely he had a big influence on me,” he stressed.
Too bad, the Elasto Painters lost to the Beermen in overtime, 107-101, despite holding to a 96-90 lead late in regulation. Washington finished with eight points, six rebounds, three assists, and two steals in 23 minutes of play.
The setback though, was not about to spoil the reunion between the coach and his former student.
“I got off daddy duties tonight, so maybe we’ll go hang out tonight,” said Washington before finally excusing himself to join his waiting coach.