PAGADIAN, ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR—At 42, Dennis Daa remains timeless for Basilan BRT in the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup Mindanao Challenge.
The 6-foot-5 sweet-shooting big man led the Peace Riders to an immaculate 3-0 record after nipping Pagadian, 82-76, Thursday evening at the Pagadian City Gymnasium here.
Daa unleashed a team-high 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting. He also went a perfect 3-of-3 from the line, including the freebies to seal the deal late. He also grabbed six rebounds and swatted one shot.
And he was the calming presence for Basilan when the Explorers threatened to come back.
“Syempre hindi dapat kami ma-pressure basta-basta. ‘Yung lead namin medyo malaki saka huwag bigyan ng kumpyansa ‘yung kalaban,” Daa on what he told his teammates in the fourth period.
But more than being the captain of this Peace Riders squad, Daa is also always consulted by head coach Ron Jalmanzar.
This as Jalmanzar is even younger than the veteran power forward at 39.
“Sabi nga ni Kuya Dennis ‘kalabaw lang ang tumatanda’,” recalled Jalmanzar. “Actually ‘yung words of wisdom ni Kuya Dennis ‘yung nakakatulong sa amin. Nagbabatuhan kami lagi ng idea.
“Hindi lang kaming coaches ang nasusunod, nagtatanong kami palagi kay Kuya Dennis kaya mas maganda kasi transparent kami.”
And that’s something Daa appreciates.
Being heard, being consulted, and getting the respect he deserves.
“All the time naman humihingi si Coach sa akin kasi lahat kami open. Hindi lang ako, kundi lahat ng teammates namin. Kung sino ang makapansin ng magandang gameplan, tulungan kaming lahat,” said Daa.
And the Las Piñas College product loves to be back with the Peace Riders after spending last conference with ALZA Alayon Zamboanga.
After all, it was Basilan that gave him a new lease of life in basketball back in 2018 in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League.
“‘Yung puso ko nasa Basilan pa rin talaga kasi sila ang nagbigay sa akin ng break noong MPBL 2018 kaya nagpapasalamat ako kay boss Jax Chua (team manager) na binigyan ako ng oportunidad na makabalik ako dito.”