April 22, 2024

PBA All-Star: No stopping these fans from seeing their basketball idols in Bacolod

PBA All-Star: No stopping these fans from seeing their basketball idols in Bacolod
The PBA All-Stars will always be for the fans. | Art by Mitzi Dyan/One Sports

"Never say die."

It's the rallying cry and the mentality of the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on the court. For one fan, it has literally inspired him to keep on living.

John Michael Serenio is a longtime Ginebra fan living in Bacolod. So when the PBA All-Stars went to the city for a fan meet, he made sure to take a picture with Japeth Aguilar.

  

Serenio has a condition called osteogenesis imperfecta, a genetic bone disorder also known as brittle bone disease. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, a child born with this condition may have soft bones that break easily, or have bones that are not formed normally.

This didn't stop Serenio from loving basketball, as he soon became a coach.

And Ginebra's rallying cry became his motto in life.

"Sabi ng doktor, ang buhay ko hanggang 21 years old lang," he shared to One Sports. "Pero 31 years old na ko. 'Di ako bumitaw."

"Never say die ba. Inspired ako, ang buhay ko parang lumalaban pa rin."

 John Michael Serenio attends the PBA All-Star Game with his relative

Going out to see his PBA idols turned out to be fortuitous.

After seeing his rusting, fifteen-year-old wheelchair, a member of the production team--who chose to stay anonymous--decided to gift him a new one.

"Maraming salamat sa lahat," Serenio said, as he and the donor just met each other the day before the All-Star Game. "Unexpected na binigyan ako ng wheelchair, maraming salamat."

He wasn't the only PWD who witnessed the intense game in Bacolod that ended in a 140-140 draw.

Julian Lapid, who has cerebral palsy, made it a point to fly from Manila to watch the PBA All-Star Game and attend the fan meets.

  

"This is my back-to-back experience. Halos lahat, kung kaya, pinupuntahan ko," Lapid shared to One Sports as he also attended last year's festivities in Passi City, Iloilo.

He's particularly a fan of Terrafirma Dyip's Juami Tiongson.

"Mabait kasi," Lapid explained.

But when it came to Team Japeth or Team Mark, there wasn't even any debate.

"Team Japeth. Ateneo!" he exclaimed.

"Actually he's been planning [to attend] the PBA All-Star events since three months back," Lapid's father Robert explained. "He's been telling us to go and join."

Sports is a family affair for the Lapids. Robert was a basketball player, while his wife Elizabeth used to play volleyball. They also participated as volunteers during the 2023 FIBA World Cup hosted by the Philippines. 

[ALSO READ: Living the dream: PWD volunteer gets to be a part of FIBA World Cup

 

They weren't the only ones who were excited to see their PBA idols.

Patricia Pescasiosa and Lyne Payo came from Silay City to see Japeth Aguilar.

 

Sergie Cusio, Aris Martir, Paolo Laguyo, and Aljon Tolentino were all too happy to witness James Yap play for a record 18th time in the PBA All-Star Game.

[ALSO READ: All-Star Odyssey: James Yap reflects on record 18th PBA All-Star nod

 

Meanwhile, Magnolia Chicken Timplados Hotshots fan Rod Villegas traveled from Dumaguete to witness Mark Barroca.

 

"'Yun nga 'yung very important din dito sa PBA para makapag-give back sa fans," Aguilar earlier shared when they arrived in Bacolod. "Para sa mga bumoto sa amin, at least magbigay kami ng magandang show."

(With reports from Mei-Lin Lozada, One Sports Digital)