PAGADIAN, ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR — The COVID-19 pandemic has really challenged Michael Mabulac.
As a basketball player, his profession was nowhere to be found in the first year of the worldwide pandemic.
So it was a turning point for the bruising big man when Jumbo Plastic-Basilan signed him for the 2021 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup.
“Napakaswerte naming nagkaroon ng trabaho in the middle of pandemic.
“Ako pinapahalagahan ko ‘yun kasi sa loob noong isang taon stressed na stressed ako kasi hindi ko alam kung paano ako magpo-provide sa pamilya ko,” said Mabulac, a father.
And for him, he did it all for his family.
First, his wife Mori, challenged him to get an individual award, pushing her beau to greater heights.
Mabulac took it head-on.
“Pinupush ako ng misis ko na makakuha ng award so chinallengeko rin ‘yung sarili ko. Sabi ko kung may makuha ako, salamat bonus na lang ‘yon pero ang pinakamahalaga ‘yung goal namin na mag champion,” said the 6-foot-4 wide body in the paint.
Mabulac was hailed as one of two Finals Most Valuable Players in the Southern Finals alongside Jay Collado.
Aside from the fresh trophy he got earlier when the Peace Riders finished off Mandaue in Game Three, 83-65, he also got a place in the Mythical Team after the eliminations.
“‘Yung Mythical Five sobrang tuwa ko na noon. Nagulat ako nung nasa Mythical Five ako tapos ito pa champion na MVP pa,” said Mabulac.
“Hindi ako pamilyar sa award na ito sa totoo lang eh, huling MVP ko yata 12 years ago na. Makapag Finals MVP sa ganitong liga na malalakas. Tapos ang lakas ng lineup namin ang hirap din na mailabas ko yung laro ko tulad ng ginagawa ko sa ibang team na limitado yung star player. Talagang bonus para sa akin ito.”
Second, another motivation that pushed him to what he achieved was today’s also his first son Kael’s graduation at pre-school.
Mabulac posted graduation photos of his son prior to the game with caption: “Sulit lahat ng pagod ko. Ito ang totoong trophy.”
Little did he know, he’ll have two more trophies when he goes home to his family.
“Caption ko nga sa post ko kanina about sa graduation ng anak ko, sulit ‘yung pagod eh. Alam mo yung nagastusan mo ‘yung edukasyon ng anak mo, nagpakahirap kami para sa pamilya namin,” he said.
“Kung pwede lang yung normal na buhay na aakyat ka sa stage kasama ‘yung anak mo pero masaya na ako na nakita kong naka toga ‘yung anak ko.”