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Adversaries before, Romy Dela Rosa sees Chito Victolero coaching son Rome

Rome Dela Rosa's father and current head coach faced off before, and now, he is making both of them proud. Dennis Acosta
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--It has been 18 years since San Juan and Negros faced off in the MBA Finals, where the former outlasted the latter in six games to become the one and only expansion franchise to win it all in the now defunct national league.

Two of the Knights' champion team, Rafi Reavis and Chito Victolero, are still together in the PBA under the Purefoods franchise as player and head coach respectively as they vie for the coveted Philippine Cup title in the latter's first finals appearance as gaffer.

On the other hand, a Slasher, Romy Dela Rosa, was at the stands of the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday night watching his son Rome playing under the tutelage of, curiously, Victolero at the squad currently known as the Magnolia Hotshots.

Despite the interesting setting, Daddy Romy, who first played for Shell and Sta. Lucia in the PBA before finding his way to Bacolod for the MBA cagefest, is glad to witness his son's career blooming with his former foes.

"Maligaya ako kasi yung anak ko, naging coach niya si Chito," the older Dela Rosa told Dugout Philippines.

Romy Dela Rosa, who is now based in the United States, is in the Philippines for the graduation of his younger son Ry, who like Rome is part of San Beda's basketball program, although Ry is a Red Cub while Rome played for their seniors counterparts Red Lions.

Known as a lockdown defender during his days with San Beda and Alaska, Rome Dela Rosa has slowly become a two-way player for Magnolia, and for his dad, seeing his son make an impact offensively is remarkable.

"Ngayon, natutuwa ako na nakakapag-three points na," Daddy Romy lauded his son, who made two triples in Game 1 of the Hotshots' championship series against the San Miguel Beermen won by the former.

[Related Story: Magnolia pulls off epic Game 1 comeback vs SMB at start of PH Cup Finals]

Romy Dela Rosa also believes that Rome has found a home with the Hotshots.

"Sa Alaska, wala siyang pwesto doon. Dito, nabibigyan siya ng break. Happy ako na nabigyan siya ng pagkakataon. Malaking tulong [siya] sa team," Daddy Romy continued.

Seeing a Dela Rosa clan member with the Purefoods franchise is nothing new actually as Romy's brother--and Rome's uncle--Ruben also played for the squad before playing in the MBA for Manila--with Victolero--and eventually joining his brother at Negros.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno