FIFTEEN years since he retired, Alvin Patrimonio remains one of the most popular basketball personalities in the country.
Proof was the army of fans who tailed 'Cap' every step of the way when he and Ginebra forward Jeff Chan joined the PBA Homecourt caravan in unannounced visits to Maybunga covered court and Barangay Ugong in Pasig City on Thursday.
“(I feel) blessed kasi talagang basketball is part of the lives of these kids and ito ang chance namin to be with them to at least make them happy and inspire them, so it’s very important na personal na nandidito kami,” said Patrimonio.
Chan felt just as glad to be able to interact with fans.
“For me yes, humbling experience siya, kasi noong bata pa ako hirap na hirap akong makita ang mga idol ko,” said Chan. “Kaya natutuwa ako sa PBA na may program silang ganito na dinadala nila ang players sa mga fans na makita ang mga idol nila and mabigyan sila ng kasiyahan.”
Both Patrimonio and Chan went out of their way to reach out to fans in the project started by league commissioner Willier Marcial nine months ago, saying the selfies, hugs and high fives meant a lot for the fans.
“Of course, nakakataba ng puso,” said the four-time league MVP. “Ma-high five mo sila, ma-shake hands mo lang sila, malaking bagay na sa kanila ‘yun, mai-inspire na sila to be better on the sport.”
Chan added: “Malaking bagay na ‘yun na makita mo ang idol mo at may pruweba ka (may selfie) na, ‘Uy, katabi ko si idol’ so nakakatuwa na makikita mo sa mga ngiti nila."
Marcial said he can’t explain the feeling seeing the joy in the faces of league fans.
“Iba, iba (ang feeling),” he said. “Minsan nga nakakaiyak ‘yung makita mo sila na pag dadating tayo nanlalaki ang mata nila sa excitement, sa tuwa, sa saya.”
“Hindi mo masabi pero ang laking kasiyahan para sa PBA na mapasaya natin ‘yung mga fans natin,” he added.