WHAT’S the best part of being a dad?
It was a simple enough question, but basketball stars Marc Pingris, Jeff Chan, Jayson Castro, Gabe Norwood, Mark Barroca, and Calvin Abueva all had big smiles when SPIN.ph asked them this, during a short chat after a game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
As basketball players, they’ve won numerous championships and have proudly represented the country in major tournaments abroad. But beside all these achievements, they were all in agreement that being a father is their most important accomplishment.
On the court, Marc Pingris is a tough guy that nobody messes with. At home, however, the Magnolia bruiser turns into everything his 10-year-old son, Mic, and seven-year-old daughter, Caela, need him to be, and that ranges from being a superhero to a salon staffer.
The multiple-time national team member, of course, doesn’t mind.
“Kahit sabihin mong nasa thirty plus na ako, nagiging fifteen years old na lang ako kapag kalaro ko sila. Total costume talaga, aktingan talaga,” he says.
About his daughter Caela, he says, “Minsan ako ang nagbo-blower ng hair niya, magma-manicure ako sa kanya. Hindi porke't lalaki ako hindi ko na gagawin yun. Hindi kabawasan yun sa pagkalalaki.”
Of course, the tattooed Ping says, he still makes sure to balance his job as a playmate and as a father.
“Pero ano rin, kailangan may limit lang din naman. Kasi ayaw ko silang ma-spoil, so kapag may kasalanan, kailangan kausapin. Napapalo rin, kasi kailangan din nila yun eh,” the 6’ 4” ball player says.
Ginebra gunner Jeff Chan joins his princesses, Amara, seven, and Aerin, who turns six on the 16th, for tea time and house play.
“Princess, bahay bahay, hindi naman ako nagco-costume, may mga ipit lang [sa buhok], wala kang magagawa,” he says about the games they play.
Chan shares one game they that nearly brought him to tears.
“Doon sa game, magkatabi sila [sa upuan], tapos huminto ang music. Ginawa ng ate, pinaupo niya ang bunso. Instead of siya, nag-sacrifice siya. So, nakaka-proud bilang tatay,” relates the lean and muscular shooter.
The goateed Castro enjoys being a father to his adorable son, David Elli.
“Sobrang, parang sa akin, magmula nang magka-baby ako, nakumpleto ako,” says the TNT KaTropa star guard. “Sobrang ine-enjoy ko ang pagka-father at saka hands-on kami magmula sa mga check up, magpalit ng diaper, kapag madaling araw [nagbabantay].”
Norwood, the dad of Cassius, Orion, and Idris, sums up fatherhood in just one word: life.
“Man, life,” says the Rain or Shine do-it-all player while looking at the distance with a proud smile on his face.
“You got to impact real life and really see them grow and mature. It’s really a blessing to be a father to have that role and have that responsibility,” the Fil-American says.
“It’s awesome ‘cause watching them is like watching myself. It’s kinda scary, but it’s a lot of fun at the same time,” the tall and well-proportioned man says.
In everything he does, Magnolia guard Barroca draws inspiration from his only daughter, Natalie Faith.
“Ang pinakamasarap sa pagiging tatay, yung makikita mo ang anak mo, tapos siya ang motivation mo sa lahat ng bagay,” the pesky, 5’ 10” spitfire says.
Growing up with basically nothing, Abueva’s goal in life is for his children to have a better future, and for them never to experience the hardships he did to be where he is today.
"Sa amin noon, kung ano lang ang meron kami, yun lang ang pinagkakasya namin e," recalls the man who helped Alaska grab the PBA championship in 2013. "'Di naman ako mapili, kung ano lang ang kaya, yun na pinagsasaluhan namin.”
"S’yempre ngayon na meron na ako, ipapa-feel ko sa kanila na meron naman akong ibibigay sa kanila. Hindi naman, hindi ko naman sila pinapalaki sa luho, kung ano lang ang meron at kung ano lang ang kaya,” says the six-time member of the PBA All Star.