CHRISTMAS brings back fond memories for PBA stars - a time when the happiest season of the year meant caroling, simple gifts and Jolli meals.
Before becoming millionaires, San Miguel big man June Mar Fajardo and Talk 'N Text forward Dylan Ababou said they were happy to receive P5 and change for a couple of Christmas songs they sing infront of neighbors' houses.
"Nangangaroling kami sa probinsya. Binibigyan kami ng P20, dati P5. Kasama ko ang kapatid ko at kapitbahay," recalled Fajardo, who was born and raised in Cebu.
The back-to-back MVP remembered the festivities with fondness, recalling how as a kid he looked forward to his mother's pancit bihon.
For Ababou, there was nothing better than spending his caroling earnings on a simple burger meal.
"Nangangaroling ako tapos ang perang maiipon ko ipangkakain ko," he shared. "Lagi may regalo ako mula sa mga ninang ko umabot ng P300, eh P23.50 may burger, fries at coke ka na sa Jollibee, 1997 'yun 10 years old ako eh 29 years old na ako ngayon."
Ginebra slotman Greg Slaughter won't be with his family on Christmas day as he and the Gin Kings are scheduled to clash with Star in a PBA Philippine Cup playoff.
But instead of partaking his favorite turkey meal on the family table during Christmas, the Ginebra big man said he's happy to settle for the Filipino food lumpia.
"Unfortunately, I can't be with family but I'll definitely keep in touch," he said. "During Christmas there's always turkey, it's one of my favorite food, but I don't think I can find one here so I have to settle for lumpia."
Alaska gunner Dondon Hontiveros said Christmas reminds him of his excitement over receiving presents but now that he's old, it's his turn to make other kids feel that same joy he felt when he was young.
"More on excited everytime makakatanggap ka ng regalo. Excited lang din na makasama ang family, to spend time with them. Pero ngayon na may games pag Christmas at mahal din ang tickets from Cebu to Manila, ako at 'yung anak ko, we're looking forward to giving back every time," he said.