Dribbling a leather ball during childhood may be a matter of privilege in some parts of the world. This is but a reason for me to first and foremost pay tribute to Mang Art, who dearly touched my life by allowing me to join and take pleasure in his three-on-three basketball tournament which was the first time for me being a mere grade-schooler then. My team reached the finals which was, luckily for young players like us, formatted by Mang Art to be a sulit (read: long) best-of-seven series. Despite losing Game 1, my eldest brother-coach spearheaded the team to win the series in Game 7. Mang Art never knew that I was glad enough to have played my first tournament organized by him and his sons; I would become especially gladder because Mang Art gave me the MVP plum in the form of the biggest, the heaviest of all medals during the awarding ceremony.
Mang Art joined his Creator a few days ago.
Last Friday I heard in the news program of GMA PinoyTV from here in the Middle East that Mr. Isagani Yambot, publisher of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, also passed away.
Mr. Yambot may have seen me in PDI’s Makati City newsroom but I never had the opportunity to be close to him unlike what I had with the basketball organizer Mang Art whose house is beside ours (read: kapitbahay). But Mr. Yambot was equally close to my heart because of his broadsheet that I have loved to read, that I have loved to serve (copies of PDI cash vouchers for my on-the-job training at its research department and my published article about a promising UAAP player and his college basketball team have become part of my curriculum vitae supporting documents).
Mang Art and Sir Gani are two names to decode my way of life. In three months’ time, my age will be 33. During that important birth anniversary celebration, I will remember these two good men in my prayer and express my profound thanks to the Lord Almighty for giving me the chance to celebrate life inspired by Mang Art and Sir Gani in one way or another.
I’m no longer good in basketball and consider myself as a semi-retired leisure time player, but my sport has given and still gives nice memories as a player and a fan. It’s the same great amount of experience for Inquirer readers like me. When I read editorials, top stories, opinions in my favorite newspaper, I know that intelligent read will still be there as its publisher’s impact is exceptional. Originally written as a 2012 comment at GMA News Online, http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/250302/news/nation/pnoy-visits-wake-of-inquirer-publisher-isagani-yambot