Among the thousands of basketball fans that endured the mid-afternoon heat on Saturday, a lady PWD (person with disability), accompanied by her mother and another male companion, made sure she won’t let the day pass without seeing her long-time sports idol Kobe Bryant.
Gladys Glorioso sat on her wheelchair just outside the Red Gate entrance of the Smart Araneta Coliseum. She was waiting for a friend from Unilever, who acted as a “Good Samaritan” by giving her tickets to watch Kobe Bryant’s Mamba Mentality Tour Manila 2016 at the Big Dome.
Glorioso, a painter by profession, was carrying 2 big pictures of her with Bryant, which were taken during the just-retired Los Angeles Lakers stars’ Manila visit in 2013.
“Sinama lang kami dahil late na ako naka-register online sa Nike. So may nag-offer ng tickets,” Glorioso told FOX Sports, who was already at the Red Gate entrance at 2 p.m. “Bibili talaga ako ng tickets, pero nung nalaman nilang PWD ako, nag-offer sila (Unilever),” she added.
Glorioso said Bryant has been her basketball idol beginning on January 22, 2006 when the Laker great, nicknamed “Black Mamba”, registered an NBA career-high 81 points to steer LA to a come-from-behind 122-104 win over the Toronto Raptors at the Staples Center.
Since then, Glorioso said she follows Bryant’s NBA exploits, even making a scrap book on the 37-year-old Bryant.
She was able to give the scrap book to Bryant after getting that rare chance to be part of the meet-and-greet with the NBA legend during his Lenovo Mobile-sponsored Manila tour 3 years ago.
“Sobrang very accommodating siya (Bryant) sa fans kaya parang nasa Cloud 9 ako nun. Sobrang blessed din,” recalled Glorioso.
On the other hand, another Kobe Bryant-solid fan by the name of Andy Enteria, was among the early basketball fans, who fall in line at the Big Dome’s General Admission gate.
Wearing Bryant’s world-famous Lakers no. 24 jersey, Enteria said he was one of the fortunate Pinoy fans who got a free general admission ticket after registering online at Nike’s website early this week.
Enteria, a product of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines-Sta. Mesa said what separates Bryant from the rest of the NBA players today is his killer instinct.
“Iyung mindset niya po sa laro, yung killer instinct niya, iyun ang gusto ko talaga,” Enteria said. “Si Kobe, idol ko talaga, lalo na yung fadeaway shot niya, saka siguro yung post fadeaway niya.”
Enteria said he first took note of Bryant in 1997 when the latter was still a rookie who came out of Lower Merion High School.
“Bale nung kalaban nila ang Utah Jazz, dun ko siya naging idol talaga,” he said.
Although Bryant closed out his rookie season with 4 airballs at the end of the game, leading to the Lakers’ 1-4 loss to the Utah Jazz in the 1997 Western Conference semifinals, Enteria has been a solid Kobe Bryant-fan since. – By Richard Dy
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