Ronjay Buenafe weighs comparisons with younger cousin Ryan: 'Mas magaling siya'
The Meralco-GlobalPort game on Tuesday night marked the first time cousins Ronjay and Ryan Buenafe played against each other in an official PBA game. Jerome Ascano

HE may be the elder and the more experienced of the two, but Ronjay Buenafe hands down admitted that his cousin Ryan Buenafe is the better player between them.

“Mas magaling siya,” Ronjay told without batting an eyelash shortly after the PBA Philippine Cup game between Meralco and Globalport Tuesday night that marked the first time the first cousins faced each other in an official match.

“Since high school and college kasi puro championship ang nakukuha niya. Hindi pa siguro ngayon 'yung time niya (sa PBA), pero darating yun,” he said of the burly Meralco forward, who won titles with San Sebastian Staglets in the NCAA and the Ateneo Blue Eagles in the UAAP.

For a brief moment in the third period of the game which the Bolts won, 82-70, the spotlight fell on the Buenafes after Ronjay and Ryan exchanged baskets, drawing cheers from the crowd inside the Astrodome.

Ronjay finished with five points to Ryan’s three markers. The Globalport shooting guard actually answered back with a three-pointer after Ryan made a basket, giving the Batang Pier the lead briefly, 56-55 near the end of the third quarter.

“Hindi naman sa nagpapalitan kami ng basket. Sa akin If I have an open look ganun ang ginagawa ko. Ganun din siguro siya. It just so happened na I was open, and then pagbalik open ulit. Siyempre, ititira ko na yung dahil libre,” he recalled of the fleeting moment he had with his younger cousin.

A product of Emilio Aguinaldo College, Ronjay said his father and Ryan’s dad are brothers, adding the Buenafes are a basketball loving family.

The two didn’t get to play together during their younger years owing to their age gap, although Ronjay said he usually brings Ryan along during his playing years in the defunct Philippine Basketball League.

He also didn’t get the chance to teach Ryan about playing the game, and neither does he have an idea of whether he was a major influence on his cousin.  

“Mas maganda siguro siya na lang yung tanungin ninyo about that. Pero hopefully meron. Sana meron akong factor (bakit siya naglalaro ng basketball),” said Ronjay.

The elder Buenafe obviously put up one over Ryan as he already won a PBA championship before with Rain or Shine.

“Yung siguro ang isang advantage kong masasabi,” he said. “But in time. Basta practice hard lang siya and siyempre, discipline.”


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