Ben Adamos recounts journey from Albay fisherman to PBA player

Nov 1, 2022
Ben Adamos Palarong Bicol, Phoenix
Ben Adamos towers over his Albay teammates in a Palarong Bicol game.
PHOTO: Ben Adamos' personal collection | PBA Images

BEN Adamos swims for leisure nowadays. If you look at his Instagram account, the second-year PBA big man and his wife Teslee get to spend their vacations flying to some of the best beaches in the country. They can also take a dip in the swimming pool among the amenities at their Pasig condo.

But back in his native Albay, Bicol, he lived so close to the sea that it became part of his daily life, even doing it for a living.

“Mahilig ako sa dagat, nangingisda,” Adamos shared with a smile.

He has caught and sold Lapu-Lapu seedlings since he was a kid, even recalling that he once almost drowned when he was 10 years old and standing 5’9” while fishing with his cousins.

Ben Adamos: From fisherman to PBA center

But that incident hardly dampened his love for water. He would always be so thrilled at his daily trips to the beach that he would snub the nearby basketball court on the way.

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“Bahay-dagat-bahay lang ako,” the Phoenix center, now 6’6”, said. “Yung court, nadadaanan ko lang talaga. Hindi naman ako nagba-basketball talaga.”

“Natawa nga ako, pag umuuwi ako ngayon, yung mga pinsan ko, sinasabihan ako, ‘Basketball player ka na ah. Ang layo-layo mo na. Dati, pag nandito tayo sa dagat, nagtatawanan kami, muntik ka pang malunod.’”

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By going to sea and selling fish semilla for P1 to P2 each, Adamos would help the family stay afloat as his mom, Benny, ran a small sari-sari store, while his dad, Mong, also worked as a fisherman apart from being a tricycle driver, aside from planting kamoteng kahoy and melons on the side.

“Natural lang yung isang araw lang talaga nabubuhay,” Ben said.

Basketball came as an opportunity for a better life when Adamos was already a fourth-year high school student – and growing to be 6’4” – at Zamora Memorial College when his classmates convinced him to try the sport.

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“Nung fourth-year high school, binabalik ko lang yung bola sa ring. Kasi yun lang ang alam ko eh. Kasi matangkad lang ako,” he said with a chuckle.

Adamos, though, used his height to make it to the team that represented Albay in a Palarong Bicol edition where Technological Institute of the Philippines scout JR Salcedo saw him crying after his team lost to Catanduanes in the finals on a free throw.

Ben Adamos Palarong Bicol

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A naïve Adamos would eventually wipe his tears when TIP recruited him to play for the Engineers as he learned about the pro and college leagues in the Big City.

“Hindi nga ako nanonood ng NCAA, PBA, kahit UAAP, hindi ko pa napapanood yan. Pag dating ko ng Manila, may liga palang ganyan?” he admitted.

“Ang pangarap ko lang dati makita ako ng parents ko sa TV na naglalaro. Yun lang,” he added with a smile.

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    Quickly developing at TIP, Adamos dreamed bigger and thought of transferring to a school that sees action in the UAAP or NCAA.

    He first landed at San Beda under former coach and current Phoenix deputy Jamike Jarin. Adamos showed flashes of brilliance when Cameroonian Donald Tankoua was injured, but eventually transferred to Perpetual Help where coach Frankie Lim unleashed his potential.

    “Si coach Frankie, ang sinasabi lang sa’kin, ‘Hahayaan kita maglaro. Kung ano gusto mo, sige, go,’” Adamos said. “Kahit sino namang player, pag playing time ang usapan, magagawa mo lahat. Yun confidence mo, dun mabubuo.”

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    Ben Adamos

    Adamos also gained permission from Lim to play for Bacolod in the MPBL where he further progressed to give him the confidence that he’s ready for the PBA.

    Going as high as No. 6 in last year’s rookie draft, Adamos showed a glimpse of his potential at Alaska under coach Jeff Cariaso. As Converge took over the franchise, he averaged 5.1 points and 3.4 boards in 18.6 minutes over 11 games in the last Philippine Cup.

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    Adamos, though, was part of the transition phase under Aldin Ayo as the big man was traded alongside Kurt Lojera to Phoenix for Aljun Melecio and Kris Porter.

    Naturally, Adamos admitted getting surprised by the trade, but he’s now settling in his new home, especially with coach Topex Robinson and former coach Jarin welcoming him with open arms.

    “Hanggang ngayon, parang naga-adjust yung utak ko eh. Ngayon na-ano ko na yung team, kasi pinapadali ni coach yung flow ng basketball, so nakakapag-adjust na ako,” he said.

    Robinson believes in Adamos’ potential.

    “Ben is somebody that I see in the future who’s going to be a big part of this program,” the Phoenix coach said.

    Adamos, though, knows he first has to earn Robinson’s trust.

    “Ito yung time na kailangan ko i-prove din talaga yung sarili ko,” Adamos said. “Nacha-challenge din ako eh. Nakikita ko minsan, lalo pag sa games, naiisip ko kung ano pa yung kaya kong gawin sa loob.”

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    But in life, Adamos has already proven himself by giving his family a better life.

    “Nakatulong siya sa family ko, lalo na sa parents ko sa province. Ngayon, parang planado mo na lahat ng gagawin mo, yung work mo dito sa PBA, then yung sa bahay.”

    “Pag naiisip ko, parang ang layo na ng narating ko,” he beamed.

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    Ben Adamos towers over his Albay teammates in a Palarong Bicol game.
    PHOTO: Ben Adamos' personal collection | PBA Images
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