[This is the first in a series giving Spin.ph readers the stories behind the numbers on the back of their favorite players' jerseys]
THEY'RE more than mere numbers, and there's more to them than meets the eye.
From important dates in their lives to lucky numbers to mere coincidence, there's usually a compelling story behind the numbers your favorite players wear on their backs.
And more often that not, these stories will either surprise you or make you feel closer to their cage idols.
Here's the first part.
Mark Barroca, San Mig Super Coffee Mixers, jersey No. 14
Did you know that since he began playing in basketball leagues, Mark Barroca has been used to wearing jersey No. 4?
The cat-quick Zamboangueno sentinel has worn No. 4 from his time with Far Eastern University in the UAAP to his stint as co-captain of the original Gilas team under Rajko Toroman (see inset picture).
Interestingly, Barroca did not play competitive basketball in elementary and high school as he was a varsity track and field star at Ayala National High School in Zamboanga.
The vastly improved point guard, therefore, was also bent on bringing up the No. 4 when he was picked by San Mig in the first round of the PBA rookie draft three years ago.
But what made him switch to No. 14?
"Four kasi talaga ang number ko. Kaso paglipat ko dito sa San Mig, hawak na si Rafi (Reavis) yung number four. So nag-isip ako ng iba," explained Barroca.
"Nagkataon idol ko si Bal David, number one jersey (number) niya. Tapos ang isa pang idol ko si Johnny A (Abarrientos), fourteen siya. Sakto, bakante 14 (sa San Mig). kaya kinuha ko na," he added.
The number, coincidentally, also represented the October 14 birthdate of his wife, Ruselle.
Since the switch from No. 4 to 14, Barroca has enjoyed so much success in the pro league that he no longer intends to switch to his old jersey number even if it becomes available.
"Ay hindi na. Ayoko na ng papalit-palit. Saka sanay na ko rito at swerte rin," said the former FEU Tamaraw.