Mendoza: Doting Dad is secret of SJ’s rise to heights-A A +A
Monday, September 23, 2013
WHO helps make an athlete a star? Usually, it is the parent, or parents.
Michael Jordan had his father to guide him. Kevin Durant his mother. LeBron James also his mother. Kobe Bryant his Momand & Dad; did you know Kobe got his name from Kobe beef of Japan?
In a tour of Tokyo, Bryant’s parents dined at a restaurant that specialized in Kobe beef. After a hearty, tummy-filling meal of Kobe steak, they decided to name their next child Kobe.
And who can forget Richard Williams? He is the father who made his daughters, Venus and Serena, multi-Grand Slam champions in tennis.
Closer to home, world bowling champion Paeng Nepomuceno had his Dad Mang Angel as his coach; Asia’s sprint queen Lydia de Vega her famous, spider-lover Tatang; and, yes, Manny Pacquiao his now-tango dancing Mom, Dionisia, who is now lovingly known as PacMom.
I cite once again the people who made the difference in the careers of great athletes, past and present. Always, it was either Mom or Dad, or both.
Again, I can see that wondrous chemistry being reprised in the case of Sam Joseph Belangel, the rising basketball star from Bacolod.
Only 14 years old, Belangel—SJ to family and friends—is a 5’10” wrecking machine who scored 85 points two weeks ago in a city-wide Bacolod tournament after unloading 99 points in Iloilo last year.
Six-foot-four Chris Javelosa, one of Bacolod’s many contributions to La Salle in the UAAP, said: “SJ is unbelievable!”
I’ve seen SJ in the flesh and I can only describe the kid in one word: phenomenal.
The kid’s Dad is aware of SJ’s seemingly limitless potential as a point-guard with hands that can shoot anywhere. Deeply, I can feel Dad’s loving concern for his son even in my fleeting moment with Sammy.
“I hope he will continue to improve,” said Sammy, SJ’s unassuming, soft-spoken Dad.
Sammy exudes humility even as quiet praise from other parents stupendously surrounds his son.
As I looked in his eyes, I saw in Sammy the consuming passion of a father’s desire to mould his child into a smoldering success in the game this country considers religion.
Good luck, Sammy.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 24, 2013.