IT’S a small sacrifice for the greater pleasure of many.
While the rest are on vacation, players from two of the PBA’s most popular teams take the court for another awaited classic matchup on Sunday night as a Christmas treat to their fans.
Ginebra and Star are set to lock horns in another Christmas night matchup, but this time on literally the biggest stage at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
Marc Pingris, among those who have played the most Christmas-Day games, doesn’t mind playing on another holiday.
“Syempre mami-miss mo rin yung family mo kasi nakasanayan na namin na kasama ko yung mga pinsan ko sa Christmas, pero trabaho ‘to eh,” the Hotshots star said in a chat with SPIN.ph two days before the game. “Mas maganda yung may trabaho ka kaysa wala.”
Pingris now even welcomes playing on a December 25 schedule, knowing it has become a traditional social event.
“Mas maganda nga dahil parang history na rin kasi yan eh,” the 13-year veteran said. “Special day rin para sa mga players yan, na mababalikan mo na, ‘Oy, Christmas, naglaro kami,’ so it’s an honor na maglalaro kami sa Christmas.”
Hotshots teammate Allein Maliksi is starting to get used to playing on Christmas after playing in his first last year.
“Sacrifice lang for the family syempre kasi usually spend time with your family, ‘di ba? Okay lang din na may game ng Christmas. Professional naman tayo,” the 29-year-old wingman said. “You have to accept na ganun talaga yung schedule.”
“And syempre enjoy rin, we love the game rin naman,” he added.
Besides, it’s not the whole day they’ll be making the sacrifice.
“Hindi katulad ng ibang work na kailangan eight hours nasa trabaho, kami, nine-to-twelve (sa umaga na practice) tapos work out ka lang ng two hours, so five to six hours ka lang sa job mo,” Maliksi explained. “Eh nage-enjoy pa kami. tapos pag uwi namin, nandyan naman parents ko.”
Hotshots rookie Jio Jalalon is relishing his first-ever Christmas-Day game, before spending New Year in his hometown.
“Focus muna sa Manila CLasico, pagkatapos niyan, pwede na siguro ako umuwi ng probinsya,” said the Cagayan de Oro native, who flies to his hometown next Friday.