SAN Mig Coffee guard Mark Barroca's mind is not completely on basketball these days, and understandably so.
The Zamboanga-born player has been worried sick about his mother and other close family members who live close to the areas where an armed conflict has been raging up South for days now.
His family, Barroca said, lives about seven barangays away from where Moro National Liberation Front leader Nur Misuari and his men took hostages and staged an armed attack in Zamboanga City.
“Oo, malapit lang kami doon. Kaya everyday talaga halos oras-oras tumatawag ako kay mama,” said Barroca. “Hindi rin kasi ako makapakali lagi. Syempre hindi biro gulo dun ngayon."
"Everytime nga na may newsbreak sa TV, napapabuntong hininga ako. Syempre, alam mo na, di ba?” added the player who was born and raised in barangay Recodo in Zamboanga City.
Barroca bared how he has been trying to convince his mother Leonida to take a flight to Manila, to no avail. The player's father died a few years ago.
“Ayaw niya eh. Okay naman daw dun kasi may mga military blockade na sa amin. Kaso sabi ko nga, hindi ganun eh. Safety na po pinag-uusapan niyan,” said the former Gilas co-captain.
“Hindi kasi maiwan ni Mama yung anim na pamangkin ko 'run na nag-aaral,” said Barroca, whose four older siblings are already based overseas.
Another Zamboanga-born PBA cager, Rudy Lingganay, is going through the same ordeal.
The young Globalport Batang Pier guard is most worried about his older brother Ryan, a medical worker who attends to the victims of the armed conflict.
“Nagwo-work si Kuya doon. Tumutulong siya sa evacuation center. Kaya nga medyo nakakatakot kasi halos nasa frontline siya,” said Lingganay, whose father, Rudy Sr, is retired Navy second lieutenant.
“Sila papa, safe eh. Kasi nandito na sila ni mama bago pa man pumutok yung gulo. Kung hindi mas kakabahan pa siguro ako kasi nerbyosa si nanay,” said the catquick Batang Pier, who also grew up in Zamboanga city.
To pitch in, Lingganay and fellow Mindanaoan Barroca are set play in a benefit game on Sunday at the Cuneta Astrodome, with the proceeds going to victims of the Zamboanga crisis.
Dubbed as 'Ayuda Zamboanga,' Barroca and Lingganay will lead popular cagers from the PBA, UAAP and NCAA like Gary David, Kiefer Ravena, Mike Tolomia, Garvo Lanete and RR Garcia in a game against a team led by Jerry Codinera, Bong Alvarez, Al Vergara, and Leo Avenido.
“Nagpaalam ako kay (San Mig board representative) Gov Rene Pardo, sabi ko gusto ko lang pong tumulong sa mga kababayan ko. Pumayag naman agad siya,” said Barroca.
“Yes, pumayag din mga bossing namin sa Global,” assured Lingganay.
PBA players are prohibited from playing in other leagues without proper clearance from their respective ballclubs during the season.