Ateneo's Therese Gaston on friendship-turned-romance with Rex Intal
Barry Viloria on Feb 08, 2016 03:13 AM
"It’s funny that when you hear his kwento, super na-hurt daw siya nung di ko binigay number ko sa kanya." (Photo by Vyn Radovan for ABS-CBN Lifestyle)
It’s a week before Valentine’s Day, and we just find it fitting to go over the most adorable couples in Philippine sports. Our first up is a favorite couple in the collegiate leagues: Ateneo’s Rex Intal and Therese Gaston.
From their funny Twitter exchanges to their Instagram photos doing the craziest stuff, Intal and Gaston make one of the biggest “ships” in today’s UAAP. They’ve tickled a lot of us pink—besides, they do have a Wattpad series, which we have yet to read. But it wasn’t really a smooth-sailing ride for the two. In fact, Gaston felt JC Intal’s younger brother coming out too strong in their first meeting.
Eagle meets Eagle
It was Season 76, the then-UST High School senior Gaston would meet then-Ateneo sophomore Intal in where else but a volleyball game? Gaston, who had just decided to suit up for Ateneo in the following season, came to watch one of the finals games in the UAAP Seniors women’s division where the Lady Eagles took on the Archers. An Ateneo alumnus would take care of the introductions between Intal and Marck Espejo of the school’s men’s volleyball team, and found them all sitting together in one row to watch the game. Gaston recalls Intal being extra friendly right off the bat.
“Rex kept talking to me the whole game! He would go in front or behind me, he’ll say, ‘Hi, what’s your name?’ Then every time Ateneo would score, he would turn to me for a high five.”
Gaston is frank to say she didn’t know who Intal was. By then, once she saw some of the audience going to him for a fan photo, she was left shaken up.
“I was like, ‘Who is he ba? Who is this guy? Sikat ba yon?’” she confesses with a laugh. “I didn’t know who Rex was, I knew who Marck was. Si Rex pala yung heartthrob, siya pala yung pogi.”
Gaston and Intal would follow each other on Twitter, before it got more awkward—and embarrassing, at least on Intal’s part. Obviously, she was still a little put off with the new guy.
“He was like, ‘Baka I won’t see you follow me kasi naka-flood ako sa notifications. And then he was like, ‘Can I get your number nalang, so I can text you to follow me?’”
“Then I told him, ‘Sorry, di ko kasi pinapamigay number ko.”
Friends to lovers
The sour exposition would sweeten once Gaston started school at Ateneo. Having been previously introduced and leading the same student-athlete life, Gaston and Intal would turn out to be friends. It went on for a year. The summer before Season 77, she says, was when “things started to develop.”
Gaston and Intal went out exclusively for around six months, before becoming official. It’s also been six months since their special friendship evolved into a full-on relationship.
So, what finally got her to say yes?
“I don’t know, maybe because we clicked din, like our sense of humor was the same and I thought he was a fun guy to be with. I didn’t know that it would be serious. So, I thought maybe date-date and then see what happens. I enjoyed naman our dates. And it grew from there.”
Gaston loves how Intal’s light-heartedness complements her prim and proper nature. In fact, she likes compares her boyfriend to her younger sister Pauline, who’s equally wild, naughty, spontaneous, “artsy,” “messy.”
“I’m always looking for that balance in people,” she says.
Young as they are, Gaston had thought of her romance with Intal as something that would not be as serious as it is now. But it has since been a healthy relationship and a hand-in-hand journey for the two, whose main plan is to focus on school and defend their teams’ reigns. On campus, they remain close and would often hang out together during the breaks. Off school and sports, they’ve even met each other’s families.
“I met his family, they’re really nice. I love them!” Gaston says.
Speaking for herself, the volleybelle seems to have deeply fallen for some things about Intal that friends, family, and fans of their—let‘s call it—love team know little.
“I love his selflessness and his thoughtfulness. People make it seem that he always thinks of himself because he’s vain and likes taking selfies—I would tell him that it’s not cool,” she laughs.
“People think he is self-centered but, really, he’s not. He would give up the world for the people he loves. He’s always thoughtful of others. Parang, ‘Kahit I don’t have this, as long as my sister has,’ yung ganon. Super bait niya!”
Gaston’s sweetest memory of Intal in their fresh romance is still vivid.
“The sweetest thing he’s done? Maybe the second he asked me to be his girlfriend. I entered the room, then there were balloons and pictures tied sa end nung balloons. Then roses sa floor. Then he had a bouquet for me. It was just really sweet. Sobrang effort.”
The cheesiness and all might take a backseat this Valentine’s season, with the tournament ongoing. But, Gaston says, there are plenty of plans to celebrate once she and Intal finally have the time.
“After the season, that’s when we’ll plan. He always wanted to go out of town,” she says. “Start muna kami sa Tagaytay, tapos pa-farther nang pa-farther hanggang nasa Batangas na kami tapos Baguio.”