Brandon Bates gets shot at making dad proud on 'Filipino Father's Day' as Meralco nears 1st PBA title

Brandon Bates has a chance to celebrate an "earlier" Father's Day with his parents and a PBA title at the same time on Sunday night. Dennis Acosta (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Brandon Bates admitted that he is not used to celebrating Father's Day on the third Sunday of June just like how many countries would do.

The Fil-Australian center told Dugout Philippines that he has been accustomed to greeting his father a happy Father's Day on the first Sunday of September.

This year, the Australian Father's Day will take place right at the start of the said month.

"I'm not gonna lie. I don't really follow the Filipino Father's Day 'coz I grew up in Australia. It's a little bit different 'coz he doesn't celebrate it in June, so I'm just focused on the September one," Bates said.

Knowing the difference between when special moments happen in the Philippines and Australia is just one of the things he had to learn as he adjusted to living in the Three Stars and a Sun.

Seven years after quickly experiencing a "culture shock" when he attended and even played for La Salle during his college days, Bates believes he has already grown up enough to finally get used to Filipino living.

"Now that I'm a little bit older and mature, I can see things as what they are, so I'm really happy that I'm here. I love it here. It has been a big adjustment, but that's part of being an adult: putting yourself in uncomfortable situations and growing from it," added Bates, who has become stellar for Meralco deep into the PBA Philippine Cup playoffs, especially on defense.

Probably upon hearing that the rookie big man made it to the finals, Bates' parents flew back to the Philippines from Australia together with his mother's friends to watch him play live at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

"I'm very happy my family is here. It's a little bit difficult when you are living alone," Bates continued.

"I'm really really grateful that they're over here because they gave up their life just to watch me."

Save for Game 1, which took place the night before they arrived, Bates' parents have been present in the next four games of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals between the Bolts and the San Miguel Beermen.

With Meralco beating SMB in Game 5 on Friday night to take a pivotal 3-2 series lead, the former can clinch the best-of-seven affair on Sunday night.

That means Bates can give his father a fitting gift right on what most of Planet Earth call Father's Day: a championship that could make him proud.

"It will be awesome and good not just for my dad but for my family as well," Bates further said.

It could also be awesome for the Bolts as they get an outright shot at clinching their very first PBA title.

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