Kenneth Duremdes will forever by synonymous with Adamson University. After all, he was part of the team that led the Soaring Falcons to back-to-back second place finishes in Seasons 55-56 of the UAAP.
But “Captain Marbel” would not have made it to Adamson without the help of another Captain’s father — Angel, the dad of Alvin Patrimonio.
During last Thursday’s episode of Tiebreaker Vodcasts’ The Crossover, presented by SMART Sports, Duremdes looked back on how the elder Patrimonio helped him get to Manila.
“The story behind my basketball career in Manila is like this: Angel Patrimonio, the dad of Alvin, kap Alvin, he is my provincemate. Kababayan ko ‘yan dito, and known as a player during his days. And actually lahat ng family ni Alvin sa fatherside nandito pa ngayon,” Duremdes, who has been in Marbel, South Cotabato since March, shared to veteran journalist Cedelf Tupas.
“Alvin’s dad works in a bank. So nung na-assign sa Manila, lumipat na sila. But ‘yung family nila, nandito naiwan. From time to time, nagbabakasyon dito ‘yung dad niya. And one time, ano lang talaga siya, right time, right place kasi umuwi si Mang Angel dito nung summer at graduating na ‘ko ng high school. And naghahanap na siya ng player. I’m already 6-foot-1, I think, at the age of 16,” he continued.
“Naghahanap siya, baka may bata sa amin na matangkad at dadalhin niya sa Adamson kasi the younger brother of Alvin, si Allen, dadalin niya sa Adamson that time sa school.”
In his words, Duremdes was the tallest among the prospects in South Cotabato that time. And he had already made a name for himself after dazzling in regional meets and national youth games.
Still, Duremdes’ parents were hesitant to send their son to Manila, so Angel assured them that he would take care of Kenneth.
Kenneth did not expect that players in Manila would be taller than him. For starters, he had six-foot-nine Marlou Aquino and seven-foot-one EJ Feihl as teammates.
“First two years, wala talaga, kokonti ang playing time. But I’ve waited for my time to come.
“Hindi ako nawalan ng pag-asa kasi as in bangko ako. Siguro nung first year ko, nakalaro lang ako ng one game. NU ‘yun — naalala ko pa kasi yung NU noon, lesser team siya so ginagamit ako nun ‘pag NU ang kalaban. Pero hindi ganon kahaba. NU, ‘yun lang ang naalala kong nakalaro ako nung first two years ko e,” said Duremdes.
But Duremdes’ will did not waver. And it did help that his Tito Angel was always pushing him.
Some of Angel’s advice was to play the guard position. It turned out to be the best move for him, since he ended up winning Rookie of the Year in the PBL in 1993 and the PBL championship a year later with Burger Machine.
“Si Mang Angel, laging pumupunta sa Adamson everyday.
“Siya na ‘yung parang second father ko nung araw dito, dahil ‘yung parents ko nandito sa Mindanao. In short, siya ‘yung nag ga-guide sa akin. Ang maganda sa kanya is he is really concerned about what’s happening in my career. Nung nakita niya na nag i-improve na ako e, natutuwa naman siya,” said Duremdes.
After spending five years in Adamson, Duremdes would be drafted as the third overall pick in the 1995 PBA Draft. He would then go on to win six championships, two Finals MVP, and the 1998 league MVP plum. Duremdes also became a mainstay in the national team from 1994 to 2002.
Duremdes would not leave basketball even after retirement. He became head coach of Adamson during the middle part of the 2010s, before being tapped as the commissioner of the MPBL.
All of this would not have happened without the late Angel Patrimonio, who ended up raising two captains in the pro ranks.
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