THIS time, it’s Aljon Mariano’s turn to do the cheering on the sidelines.
The Barangay Ginebra wignman shifts to boyfriend mode on Sunday as he roots for longtime sweetheart Kayesha Chua, who takes part in the 55th Bb. Pilipinas pageant at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Mariano disclosed he’ll be at the Big Dome to show his all-out support to his significant other, who, like him, is also a product of University of Santo Tomas from the College of Tourism and Hospitality Management.
“Yes, I’ll be there. And I support her 100 percent in her journey to the crown,” said the 25-year-old Mariano following Barangay Ginebra’s exit in the PBA Philippine Cup after a 100-94 loss against defending champion San Miguel in Game 5 of the semifinals on Saturday night at the Astrodome.
Kayesha, a flight attendant, is 25 years old and stands 5 feet 6 inches. She is candidate No. 10 representing Legazpi, Albay, who counts on reading and going to the beach among her hobbies.
Mariano said Kayesha has always dreamt of competing in the country’s foremost beauty pageant.
“It’s really her dream ever since. And I’m really proud that she pursued this dream of hers,” said the third-year forward.
Mariano is confident Kayesha would do well that he doesn’t feel tense on the eve of pageant night.
“Hindi naman kasi confident ako sa capabilities niya,” he said.
It could be different though, when the contest enters crunch time.
“Siguro pag awarding na at question and answer dun ako medyo kakabahan,” he said with a big laugh. “Siguro same kami ng nararamdaman pag siya 'yung nanunuod ng games ko.”
Mariano is actually the second PBA player whose girlfriend is competing in this year’s Bb. Pilipinas.
Peter June Simon of Magnolia Pambansang Manok is also supporting partner and fiancée Jehza Mae Huelar, who was actually Bb. Pilipinas second runner-up in 2016.
Of course, just a year ago San Miguel player Von Pessumal of San Miguel was a proud boyfriend to former courtside reporter and TV host Laura Lehmann, who was crowned Ms. World-Philippines in the same yearly pageant.
Mariano is keeping his fingers crossed Kayesha would be able to achieve the same feat.
“I know she wants the crown so bad. And I know she can shine and win it,” he said.
That’s the Barangay Ginebra spirit in him.