The youngster who dreamt, Bong Quinto, is now a PBA champion

Jun 25, 2024

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MANILA, Philippines – Bong Quinto of Meralco recently visited his father’s grave and carried a memento to demonstrate his status as a world-class basketball player.

Quinto’s championship jersey from the Bolts’ PBA Philippine Cup run was the result of a lifetime goal that he evidently shared with his father.

Quinto posted on his Facebook page on Friday, saying, “Finally, all of your prayers have paid off for me.”

Quinto’s pivotal contribution in the Bolts’ come back from the verge of missing the playoffs earned him the title of PBA champion. His performance in the Finals further diminished the reason that made him an incredible value as a second-round pick in the 2018 Draft.

Quinto’s fantasy began when he witnessed the pivotal Game 7 between Alaska and TNT for the Fiesta Conference title at the Cuneta Astrodome in 2007. For Quinto, it’s also a full circle.

Quinto saw more games after the Aces prevailed, which fueled his ambition to win a PBA championship himself eventually.

Mike Tyson claims it was “no-brainer” to return at age 57.

Quinto stated in Filipino, “I dreamed of becoming a PBA champion before I dreamed of winning a championship in college.”

NCAA champion as well

As a member of the Cinderella “Mayhem” team managed by rookie coach Aldin Ayo, he won an NCAA Championship in 2015 with Letran, preventing San Beda from winning a fifth consecutive championship. He continued to play with the Knights for three more seasons, showcasing his flexibility as a post player with perimeter playmaking ability.

Though Quinto was expected to be selected in the first round, the Bolts selected him 14th overall. It’s interesting to note that the Bolts had the opportunity to choose Quinto at No. 5 but instead to select guard Trevis Jackson.

Quinto established himself as a vital member of the Meralco team that advanced to two Finals and several semifinals before this season, both of which were lost to Barangay Ginebra. Jackson has since left the league.

Quinto proved to be a major factor in Meralco’s comeback from a 3–5 start to a final series victory over Ginebra in Game 7. He made important contributions in the Finals as well.

“I informed the veterans that I was competing for their benefit, as I am aware that ultimately, we will all reap the rewards,” Quinto remarked.

Bates, an ex-barista, contributes to the winning recipe for Bolts.

The most cathartic job Brandon Bates has ever had, according to the Meralco rookie, was working in a coffee shop in his homeland of Australia.

In an open interview with the Inquirer, he stated, “In case you guys still haven’t noticed, I love talking to people, serving people. I’d get up at four or five in the morning for the opening shift and sometimes, if I have to remain for the whole day, till four p.m. then [the shift’s] finish at 4:30. I simply enjoy doing it.

Bates might want to reevaluate his response quickly because he is poised to play a significant role in the Bolts’ next campaigns after putting on an incredible show that contributed to the team winning its first-ever PBA championship.

The La Salle graduate, who was selected eighth overall in the most recent Rookie Draft and has Filipino ancestry through his mother, proved capable of competing against the best big men in the league, including Christian Standhardinger, Japeth Aguilar, and June Mar Fajardo, the seven-time MVP of the PBA.

Bates stated that facing the best front-line players in the PBA will change his career, especially given how frequently those encounters occur.

“I believe that competing in a seven-game series against the greatest of the best is extremely important.” I’m hoping to use a lot of what I’ve learned from it to my second season,” he remarked.

After seven exhausting games against the Aguilar-Standhardinger duo, Bates played six more closely contested games versus Fajardo, whom his colleagues consider to be the most dominant player of this age.

Despite all the accolades, Bates believed that without his teammates, he would not have been able to pull off such a brilliant move. It’s also the same thing that gives him hope for the next season.

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