FIFTEEN years and counting. That's how long Arwind Santos and Ivette Gavieres have been a couple, growing up from being college sweethearts, to husband and wife, to being hands-on parents to their six children.
The San Miguel veteran said that he is first and foremost a family guy, as well as a husband to the woman who changed his life.
From the smallest of things to the most essential ones, Ivette and the SMB forward are life partners, and they wouldn’t have it any other way. And as Mother’s Day draws near — a stay-at-home holiday for now, as lockdown is still in effect — Arwind relished the chance to reflect back on the love of his life.
“Napakalaki ng role niya bilang mother. Mas mahirap ang ginagawa niya. Ako as a father, may mga bagay siyang ginagawa na hirap akong gawin,” he shared with SPIN Life.
He continued, “Kung sa tingin ko nahihirapan ako, mas nahihirapan siya, kaya hangga’t maaari, gagawin ko lahat ng kaya kong gawin. Para sa asawa ko, hindi pa tapos ang pangarap natin, at tutuparin pa natin kahit anong mangyari.”
Looking back on their love story, the 38-year-old dad recalled how it all seemed impossible at first, given that they came from very different walks of life.
Arwind was just a kid from the province trying make ends meet through bakal-bote. He made it big in the metro, thanks to his basketball skills, and was snapped up to play for the Far Eastern University after a scout caught wind of his prodigious talents. Meanwhile, Ivette was a city girl with a well-off family background, daughter of former Far Eastern University coach Danny Gavieres.
“’Nung 2004 sa FEU, dapat magpapa-draft na ako, pero natalo kami, so sabi ko sige isa pa ako, gusto kong mag-iwan ng magandang marka sa mga kabutihang ipinakita ng FEU sa'kin. So nag-one year pa ako,” he said.
The year after, he was introduced to their team’s new courtside reporter, Ivette, who joined the journey of the Tamaraws to their championship in the UAAP in 2005, with Arwind hailed as Finals MVP.
“Ipinakilala siya sa'min, ang cute, so ako naman, nagpakitang gilas, nag-isip ako ng paraan paano ko siya mapapahanga, and paano niya ako mapapansin. ‘Pag interview, nagpapakatotoo ako kung saan ako galing, hanggang na-amaze siya sa backstory ko hanggang sa maging komportable kami sa isa’t isa,” he said.
How did their courtship go?
“Kain-kain lang sa labas, kwentuhan, dumating nga sa point na sinanla ko yung cellphone ko para lang mailabas siya. Wala pa akong pera noon kaya bawat date namin, talagang pinaghahandaan at pinag-iipunan ko. Ilang buwan din hanggang nakuha ko na ‘yung matamis niyang sagot.”
It was also then that his athletic career began to take off, winning the collegiate crown to give the Tamaraws a splendid send off before getting drafted in the PBA.
Since then, Ivette has remained a solid foundation, and inspiration.
“Mas naging inspired talaga akong maglaro and mas ginalingan ko pa ang laro ko,” Arwind said. “Talagang pinupursige niya ako, hanggang ngayon nga hindi ako pinupuri non sa laro para mas higitan ko pa.”
Their love story now continues through their children. “Marami siyang obligasyon sa mga anak namin, kaya ako pag may pagkakataon makatulong, gagawin ko talaga. Lahat ng ginagawa niya na-a-appreciate ko.”