BRAZEN are those who dare to open businesses in these trying times.
But such risks also come with high rewards, and count on University of the Philippines cult hero Paul Desiderio to take that gutsy shot.
The Blackwater guard, together with his fiance Agatha Uvero and her mom Carol, opened the Katipunan branch of Kurimi Milk Tea Bar last June 15, taking a big leap in the middle of this health crisis.
"Naghahanap kasi talaga ako ng pwede kong ma-investan na business," Desiderio told Spin.ph.
"Lagi kasing sabi sa akin ni boss Mel (Macasaquit) na mag-invest and mag-business. Tapos tinulungan din ako makahanap ng mom ng fiance ko, so nag-invest kami sa franchise ng Kurimi kasama ng fiance ko."
Kurimi Milk Tea Bar is owned by franchisors John Chung and Richie Cuna and is inspired by Seoul's famous Cafe Yeonnam-dong 223-14 featuring 2D walls which mimics cartoon drawings.
Desiderio admitted that the global COVID-19 pandemic did affect their business, with the milk tea shop supposed to open earlier this year.
"Yung opening lang talaga yung na-push back," he said. "Before ng pandemic, mga 80 to 90-percent ready na kami magbukas, pero natigil kami kasi nga nag-lockdown. Pero nung di na masyadong strict, natapos na rin namin."
Friends and fans alike have been flocking the branch in Katipunan despite the outlet only allowing pick-ups and deliveries in lieu of dine-in customers.
And so far, the business has been booming.
"Talagang nagustuhan ng mga tao yung offer namin kaya kahit quarantine, malakas na agad kahit kakabukas pa lang," said the Cebuano gunner.
"Malaking bagay na suportado talaga ako ng UP community kahit na yung shop namin, Ateneo ang katapat," he chuckled. "Masaya naman ako kasi yung mga teammates ko at coaches ko rin, supportive silang lahat."
Some of Kurimi Milk Tea Bar's specialties include matcha cheesecake milk tea, Chizukeki milk tea, and brown sugar milk tea.
Desiderio is also a hands-on owner, helping the baristas in mixing their drinks and even took the role of being the courier for those in nearby places.
"Minsan, lalo na pag nasa area lang, palitan kami ng mga riders pag masyadong marami na yung orders. Pag wala naman akong ginagawa, ok lang sa akin," he said, with his deliveries also catching the customers by surprise. "Di nila inakala na ako yung nagde-deliver sa kanila."
It's a courageous gamble for Desiderio to take a leap in business during these times, but we expect nothing less from a player of his caliber.
"Sa panahon ngayon, dapat madiskarte ka talaga," he said.
A-tea-n 'To, indeed.