Paul Zamar proving full-blooded Filipinos can be world-class reinforcements
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Apr 23, 2018 07:14 PM
Paul Zamar is one of the major reasons why Thailand's Mono is in the 2017-2018 ABL Finals
STA. ROSA, LAGUNA – Paul Zamar was playing with a black eye in Game 1 of the 2017-2018 Asean Basketball League Finals.
And yet, he turned in one of his best games of the season, scoring 25 points and helping Thailand’s Mono Vampire almost steal homecourt advantage.
Zamar, Mono’s Asean Heritage import from the Philippines, had his right eye all black now, four days after it got up close and personal with the elbow of Chong Son Kung Fu slotman Justin Howard.
“Ang liit kasi niya e,” the Mono guard jokes now.
That didn’t stop him, or even slow him down, in Game 1 of the championship round, though. “Hindi ko iniinda. Pinoy tayo, hindi tayo aatras sa laban,” he said.
Of course, the fact that he was playing in his native land and with his family, including coach Boycie Zamar, in attendance also motivated Zamar. “Inspired lang ako kasi nandito yung family ko. Tapos siyempre, nandito tayo sa Pilipinas,” he shared.
He then continued, “Taga-rito ako e so itotodo ko.”
The now 29-year-old has been pushing it to the limit all throughout the season and not just whenever he is in the Philippines. He, along with Filipino-American Jason Brickman, have formed a potent backcourt that has been a big part of Vampire’s surprising Finals run.
For him, it’s all about living up to the Filipino fighting spirit. “Hindi ko lang nire-represent yung Mono at Thailand. Nire-represent ko rito yung lahat ng Pilipino,” he said.
He then continued, “Pinapatunayan natin na pang-world class tayo. ‘Di lang tayo pang-Pilipinas, kaya nating mag-import sa ibang bansa as pure Filipino.”
Well aware of that Filipino fighting spirit, however, Zamar also saw Alab Pilipinas erase a two-point lead in the last two four seconds of regulation and ultimately come away with a 143-130 overtime win in Game 1. “Never say die talaga e. (Ang) Pilipino, ‘di titigil hanggang mag-buzzer,” he said post-game, after he and the rest of Vampire now find themselves in a 0-1 hole in the best-of-five series.
He then continued, “Pero siyempre, lesson learned na sa amin. Dapat matuto kaming mag-concentrate lalo na sa dying moments.”
Nonetheless, the former University of the East star is relishing facing off with his kababayans for all the glory in the ABL. Asked about how it feels to playing in the Philippines again, he answered, “Ang sarap. Ito yung the best feeling ever.”
And along with that, spending time with the family whom he hadn’t been with for almost half a year now. “May team policy kami na siyempre, dapat magkakasama kami sa hotel (in Alabang), pero during free time, umuuwi ako sa amin (sa Paranaque),” he shared.
With his family still behind him and his kababayans still proud of him even though he’s at the opposing side, Zamar vowed to only be better as the series goes along. “I can still be better in the coming games. As a basketball player, hindi ka dapat makukuntento sa laro mo kasi you can always do better,” he said.
He then continued, “And as a team, alam naming we came up short this game, but we can also do better. Of course, they’re (Alab) also gonna do better, may the best team win na lang.”
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