JERWIN Gaco is doing a tough balancing act these days as he strives to continue his PBA career while providing for his family.
The 35-year-old cager has been trying out for GlobalPort without pay for over a month now - and moonlights in provincial invitational games on the side to earn enough for his two daughters.
“Mahirap (i-balance) kasi syempre yung first priority ko is makabalik sa PBA, ‘di ba? Eh kailangan ko rin rumaket, kailangan ng income so nagpapaalam na lang pag may ganun,” Gaco said in a chat with SPIN.ph during a break in practice on Monday at Hoops Center.
“Habang walang kontrata, pwede pa naman (maglaro sa ligang labas),” he added.
Regardless of what happens from hereon, Gaco has prepared well for life after basketball as he earns passive income from renting out a three-unit apartment and two condo units he managed to put up during his career, while also dabbling in the trucking business.
Still, the seven-year veteran’s passion to continue playing remains fervent.
“Kahit papaano (meron naman kita), pero syempre gusto ko pa rin maglaro,” the former La Salle stalwart said. “Sayang naman. Hindi naman lang para sa akin, kundi para sa pamilya ko na lang, mga anak, masuportahan.”
Gaco is still hopeful considering the Batang Pier still have one spot open in its 15-man roster, although his last talk with coach Franz Pumaren came more than two weeks ago.
“Sabi niya ni-recommend na kita sa management. Hintayin mo na lang yung tawag, so naghihintay na lang din ako,” the 6-foot-3 power forward said.
For now, Gaco is balancing between being patient and also earning extra cash. He, however, was forced to decline an offer to play in Abra in a one-week tournament that pays P12,000 per game.
“Sayang nga eh, kaso hindi ko rin maiwan anak ko,” said Gaco, who on this afternoon was in a hurry to get home after practice to celebrate the ninth birthday of daughter Jillian.
So despite the uncertainty, there’s really little reason to pout in this holiday season for the popular power forward.
“Pasko naman, i-enjoy na lang,” Gaco said. “Para sa mga bata yan, para masaya.”
“Habang may buhay, may pag-asa,” he added.