IT was in a PBA game at the Araneta Coliseum in June 2003 when then basketball star Vince Hizon proposed to then courtside reporter Patricia Bermudez.
A decade later in the same historic venue and sporting event, husband and wife took their partnership to another level when they became the first real-life couple to cover a PBA game as anchor-analyst.
On Wednesday, the Hizons blazed a trail for sports broadcasting when they provided the color commentary — Patricia as anchor and Vince as analyst — in the second game of a PBA doubleheader between Meralco and San Mig Coffee for cable channel FOX Sports.
“It was really special. It was a great opportunity for us to finally be side by side,” said the 36-year-old Patricia, who has commentated with Vince in the past in volleyball and wushu matches, among other sports, particularly in the 2007 Southeast Asian Games in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, but not in the PBA.
“It’s nice to be a part of PBA history … We were the first to get engaged at Araneta. So now we’ve blazed another trail in the PBA,” said Vince, 43, the former Ginebra gunner and now an assistant coach for the Adamson Falcons in the UAAP.
The feat may not only be the first in a PBA game, but in a basketball game wherever in the world.
“I don’t know if that is a stretch, but it doesn’t matter,” said Patricia, a veteran sportscaster.
“What matters most is that we had such a great time and we were able to be as professional as possible — no holding hands, no kissing in between timeouts, no fighting, no nothing,” she added with a laugh.
The Hizons, in fact, were so professional during the coverage that Patricia referred to her husband as “coach Vince” and Vince, who calls his wife “Shaan” at home, addressing her simply by her first name.
Naturally, they hit it off onscreen.
“At home it’s different. We’re a lot more, I guess, combative. It’s a lot more colorful,” chuckled Patricia, a Miami Heat fan, unlike Vince, who roots for the Los Angeles Lakers. “We’re not always on the same team and we sometimes argue about certain calls.”
“But we were able to put a check on that during coverage. We were on the same page,” she added.
“We respect each other’s opinions,” said Vince.
They Said It!
“I know what I’m talking about and she definitely, I’ll say it, is the most knowledgeable woman commentator in the Philippines. Maybe I’m biased, but she knows her sports. She knows the players. She knows the PBA in and out” - Vince Hizon on wife Patricia
FOX Sports, which airs the PBA live every Wednesday, broached the idea to the couple, who jumped at the chance and was supposed to cover together a week earlier if not for Patricia’s volleyball coverage.
Fittingly enough, they finally sat side by side in the broadcast panel on a special date: 11/12/13.
“Parang inisip ko na sinadya ata ni Lord na hindi kami matuloy last week para mas memorable at mas special,” said Patricia, who does a handful of other projects together with his husband, like hosting and running a golf website.
“But it’s good to see her back in the PBA,” Vince said of his wife, who has also been kept busy by her role as the head of marketing at Maynilad. “She belongs in sports. She belongs in the PBA.”
They spoke the same language and their PBA broadcast partnership, which they hope would be the first of many more to come, resulted in positive feedback, with people saying they had a natural rapport.
Having been married for almost a decade is a plus, of course.
“I think it really showed that when two partners love each other, the coverage is better. I think it added something that the PBA has never seen,” said Vince, who has been married to Patricia for nine years.
The Hizons, who have two sons, celebrate their 10th anniversary on January 1.
But a few weeks before they celebrate their decade-long partnership, they returned to where they got engaged for another milestone. To mark the occasion, they took a photo together at centercourt when everybody had left and the lights, one by one, were being turned off.
“It was our first photo (in this venue) since he proposed to me,” Patricia gushed. “It was really cool."