In the Philippine collegiate basketball setting, sometimes, personal roots make opposite branches meet and connect as one.
A Lyceum-St. Benilde game on a cloudy Thursday afternoon at the San Juan Arena became the perfect setting for that improbable chance to finally happen.
Paul Lee, a University of the East Graduate and a UAAP standout, was caught watching an NCAA game between the Pirates and the Blazers.
“Sinusuportahan ko lang yung taga-sa amin din,” Lee told Fox Sports PH.
He was referring to the rookie Pirate Adrian Alban.
Born and raised in the heart of Tondo, Lee admitted he’s just happy witnessing another ‘Angas ng Tondo’ on the rise and ready to follow his footsteps.
“Si Alban, ka-lugar ko sya. Show lang ng support sa kanya. Masaya lang ako na may ma ganyang player na mula sa lugar namin,” Lee shared with a grin on his face as he was closely watching his prodigy’s every moves.
Expectedly, the presence of ‘kuya idol’ Paul Lee inspired the rookie Pirate as Alban fired 21 points on 80% shooting on top of 4 rebounds and 3 assists in leading Lyceum’s thumping of St. Benilde, 75-58.
Alban, on the other hand, is just as proud that he was able to put on a show and more importantly, get the win in front of his number 1 supporter.
“Masaya ako na nakanood sya. Magkatext lang kami eh pero nung nakita ko na talaga sya. Sabi ko kailangang magpakitang gilas ako para di sayang yung punta nya,” he said.
Alban said Lee isn’t only inspiring him but also guiding him as he tries to carve out his own niche in Philippine basketball.
“Hardwork lang. Tsaka patunayan daw namin na marami ring magagaling na basketball player mula sa Tondo,” Alban said. – By John Bryan Ulanday