Every father knows that one day, his son will follow his example and not his advice.
RP Blu Boys legend Apol Rosales realized as much about his son Justine, who is currently playing for the UST Junior Golden Sox.
Apol knew that Justine will one day play softball, since he and his wife Fe both stood out in the sport, saying, “Pamilya kami ng softball player. ‘Yung misis ko [Fe], national player rin before, then ako rin.”
But what the 42-year-old Apol did not foresee was that he would be playing side-by-side with his son, who is 26 years his junior.
After the 2015 Southeast Asian Games in Singapore, where the Blu Boys took down the tournament, the program was dissolved. The Rosales patriarch, who had already been coaching, decided to hang up his gloves.
Four years later, the biennial meet was to be hosted by the country. And team booster Jean Lhuillier wanted a crack lineup — which also included Apol himself.
Though he could not turn down the call of his country, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity also knocked on his door — playing side-by-side with his son.
“Dati, hindi ko naisip ‘yan kasi nag-retire na ako dati, noong 2015, after the SEA Games in Singapore,” said Apol when asked about ever thinking of playing with Justine one day.
“Pero tinawag tayo ng pagkakataon ni Mr. Jean Henri Lhullier para tulungan ang team, kaya thank God nagkasama kami sa team.”
Growing up, it never crossed Justine’s mind that they would don the same colors one day. But for him, having his father on the team does not just benefit him, but also the entire team.
“Wala po sa bokabyularyo ko na makakalaro ko siya kasi bata pa po ako eh. Kala ko hindi ko na siya aabutan maglaro.
“Masaya kasi makakasama ko siya e. Pero masaya rin ako para sa team kasi isa na siya sa mga beterano dito sa larong ito e,” said the two-time UAAP Juniors champion.
And the games of Apol and Justine are eerily similar. Though still lacking the power his dad possesses, Justine — who is an infielder like his dad — possesses the same generalship of the diamond as his dad, who is serving as player-coach for the team.
“Mas masarap po maglaro kapag kasama ‘yung parents kasi naga-guide po niya ako eh. Kung may error, nasasabi niya kaagad kaya nakaka-recover ako kaagad,” said Justine.
“Hindi naman kasi… Kami kasi, para kaming magkabarkada. Kahit nung naglalaro po ako, nung seven years old pa lang siya, lagi siyang sumasama sa games. Parang kahit ito, hindi siya nag-iiba sa team,” proudly added Apol.
“‘Yung mga ibang teammates nga niya, siya na nagtuturo sa team. Pero nagtuturo rin siya.”
Justine knows that this will be the first and last time he will play alongside his dad. And so only a gold in the Games will make it worth it.
Following this, Justine looks forward to continuing to serve his country, just as his dad has done for the last two decades.
“Papa ko po siya eh. Nakaka-proud na may isang katulad niya na naglalaro sa atin,” said the young buck.
“Sa future po gagawin ko ang lahat para maging kagaya niya. Isang karangalan kasi na maglaro para sa UST at sa bayan.”