DO you remember that ubiquitous television on the set of the classic sitcom John 'N Marsha? That old worn-down TV set, the centerpiece of what was supposed to be John Puruntong's humble abode, was always tuned to the PBA games in between takes of the long-running comedy series.
"Madalas, lalapit sa kanya ang director at sasabihin take na tayo," said veteran sports commentator Ed Picson. "Pero si Mang Dolphy madalas makikiusap, sasabihin tapusin na muna ang isang quarter o di kaya 'yung game."
Picson continued: "Minsan naman, magbabasa na kami ng lines. Pero makikita mo si Mang Dolphy, hindi masyadong nakikinig kasi ang focus n'ya sa pinapanood na game."
These are just tidbits from the first-hand account of Picson, the executive director of the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines and once a semi-regular on Dolphy's iconic show, that give us a glimpse of one side of the King of Comedy that few people know: Pidol the avid basketball fan.
Below is Picson's full email in response to questions sent by Spin.ph as he paid tribute to his "favorite showbiz guy" who, sadly enough, died on his birthday.
Dolphy will always be one of my favorite showbiz guys. And I can tell you, there aren't too many of them. The man as I knew him for a few years, was the quintessential "lalaki."
Apollo Arellano, who took over the directing chores of John N' Marsha when Mang Ading Fernando passed on, decided to "use" me for a bit role on John 'N Marsha (I was then a disc jockey for an FM jazz station in Broadcast City. I would often be cast in cameo roles in various TV shows). After appearing a few times in different roles, I got cast semi-regularly as Mang Dolphy's vice-chairman (he was barangay chairman).
From the outset, Mang Dolphy was the easiest fellow to get along with. I was initially uneasy about being around him because of his iconic status, but he made me feel welcome. It was also a big help that he was a staunch PBA fan. During breaks and while we were doing the "reading of the script," the TV on the John N' Marsha set would be tuned to the games. (Normally, TV sets were just "props" but Mang Dolphy insisted on a real one because of this).
My character was always getting into "sticky" situations (Example: while Mang John was on vacation, my character granted a permit to build a match factory beside a nuclear facility). As such, I was always getting scolded and reprimanded by Mang John. The script sometimes called for Mang John to hit me on the head with the ubiquitous folded newspaper or even his slipper. But when he would get to the point where he was about to hit me, he would always find reason to stop short. Or in the rare times that he did, he would hit me on the arm instead, and very gently.
Once I asked him off-cam, "Bakit hindi nyo itinutuloy, Mang Dolphs?" He matter-of-factly answered: "Baka may makakita na mga PBA fans na kilala kang kagalang-galang sa basketball coverage, naka-Amerikana ka pa doon at nag-iingles tapos, babatok-batukan lang kita? Hindi yata maganda."
Whattaguy! But why did he have to die on my birthday? It was a happy day until 8:43 p.m.
For more stories about Dolphy's death, go to Pep.ph's tribute page.