IT was a date young Tantan Banal had long marked on the calendar.
And when the day finally came when he and his Mapua team finally faced his dad's Arellano squad, the young Banal made sure he put his best foot forward.
Tantan won the battle of the Banals on Thursday as the Mapua Cardinals thoroughly outplayed Koy Banal's Arellano Chiefs in the payoff period to win with plenty to spare, 68-49, in the 88th NCAA men's basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
The young Banal fired 16 points, spiked by four three-pointers, in an impressive performance which he said was not meant to pile more misery on Koy's team but more to make his dad proud of him.
“I was excited for this game,” said the Mapua star. “I wanted to play a good game today not just to prove something to myself but to make my dad proud of me."
“I want to show him that I can do it, that I can exceed his achievements, that I'm worthy to be in the PBA,” he added.
Koy, meanwhile, just shrugged off the spectacle surrounding the father-and-son rivalry, treating it just like any ordinary game even if the celebrated basketball family had to split up, even if for just 48 minutes.
Siding with Koy at Arellano were his wife and daughter, while cheering for Mapua was former champion coach Joel, brother of Koy whose son Gabriel is also on the Cardinals' roster.
In the end, however, the entire Banal clan ended up as the winner.
“At the end of the day, we're still a family," said Koy. "It's only in the basketball court that we'll be fighting each other. That's the legacy that our father taught us, to be professional."
And that's one lesson he obviously had passed on to his son.