AFTER playing his best game in an Alaska uniform on Friday night, Dondon Hontiveros finally silenced doubting Thomases who felt his best years as a player were already behind him.
Count his son among them.
Isaiah Miguel, 11, admitted that he was among those surprised to see his dad come away with 22 points off the bench including seven three-pointers in Alaska's 89-84 overtime win over Rain or Shine.
“Hindi ko na po talaga ini-expect, akala ko mga dalawa lang o three points lang o dalawang three points lang per game,” said Isaiah Miguel during an animated post-game talk with Spin.ph.
Dondon's son said he remembered watching his dad during his prime with San Miguel Beer, but lamented having seen his playing time - and production - dwindle over the last few years.
Isaiah, a mean player himself who plays in the Coca-Cola PBA Youngstars 2013 Summer League, admitted he even had to deal with ribbing from some schoolmates who say his dad is already 'laos,' or over the hill.
“May nagsasabi nga po na ganun na ka-klase ko (na ganoon), sabi ko panoorin niyo lang kung gaano pa siya kagaling,” said the smart kid.
At some point, Isaiah said he started thinking may be the kids were right.
“Ang tagal na po talaga,” he said of the last time he saw dad score this many points in a game. “Alam ko po kasi ganun na talaga (laos na)."
Dondon, 35, said he, too, is aware of talk that he is past his prime.
“Okay lang kahit ano ang sabihin nila (sa akin), basta laro lang ako,” said Hontiveros, who started his PBA career as a Tanduay Rhum Masters direct hire in 2000 after starring for the Cebu Gems in the defunct MBA.
“Ite-take ko lang yung opportunity na ito to make the most of the (playing) years na mayroon pa ako,” he added.
The Cebuano star said he has come to accept his off-the-bench role at Alaska as second fiddle to top gun Cyrus Baguio, and is content to pounce on every opportunity given him.
“Alam ko naman yung posisyon ko, coming off the bench, helping Cyrus, parang ganun. Na-timingan lang na maganda ang laro. Sana, sana (magpatuloy ang magandang game)," he said.
Asked if he still feels young, Hontiveros nodded: “Of course, kasi panalo eh. Maganda yung feeling."
If Dondon is happy to once more take the spotlight on Friday night, guess who is the happiest?
“Proud talaga ako kasi three points niya, ang galing niya po,” said Isaiah Miguel. "Pinrove lang niya na kaya niya pang lumaro."
The proud son also intends to have the final say is his running debate with schoolmates who said his pro player-dad is all washed up, through the social networking site Facebook.
“Siguro nakita na nila (ang laro) ngayon, kaya i-me-message ko sila, ‘Oh, ano ngayon?’, Isaiah said with a laugh.
Here, watch the full interview with father and son: