Six-time PBA champion and current MPBL commissioner Kenneth Duremdes cannot help but feel the excitement for his sons Kylle Magdangal and Kenji as the two are set to play for the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers.
Just days after UST secured the commitment of Kylle, his brother Kenji followed suit on Monday, Aug. 22.
The two were teammates in Marina High School in California, where they showed glimpses of what they can provide for the embattled Tigers, who ranked seventh in UAAP Season 84 with a 3-11 record.
With UST still in its regrouping phase, and head coach Bal David leading the new era for the squad, the older Duremdes believes that his sons will benefit from playing under the tutelage of some of the PBA greats.
"Malaking bagay 'yong commitment ni Kenji sa UST dahil gusto niya talaga maglaro sa UST kasama kapatid niya," said Duremdes when contacted by the Manila Bulletin through an online exchange Tuesday, Aug. 23.
Of course, the fact that Kylle and Kenji slowly pave their way on their own as young collegiate basketball players is something that Duremdes will forever be proud of.
"Super proud as a father lalo na ang nag-recruit personally mga PBA greats. Sila coach Bal and coach Rodney Santos," added the MPBL chief, who won the PBA Finals Most Valuable Player twice and earned the MVP Honor in 1998. "Sigurado na mas matututukan nila mabuti mga bata and 'yong buong team."
Reminiscing a couple of moments when they were still kids, the 48-year-old Duremdes, who was the third overall pick in the PBA back in 1995 by the Sunkist Orange Juicers, said it is high time for his sons to show what they can on and off the court.
" panahon. Dati noong jersey retirement ko sa PBA, kasama ko sila, nagtanong pa sila noon, 'Bakit ka sikat, Pa?' Ngayon sila naman ang dapat magpakita na kaya din nila sa tamang panahon. Praying for them and the team's success," added the doting father.
The 19-year-old Kenji, who stands at 6-foot-2, for his part, will be eligible for Season 85.
His good pal Echo Laure, son of former PBA player Eddie Laure and the younger brother of volleyball stars Eya and EJ, also committed to UST. Echo also spent most of his time training in the United States last year.
Both Kenji and Echo were part of the National University Bullpups champion team which swept the boys' basketball tournament in UAAP Season 82.
Their addition proved to be instrumental for the Tigers' rebuilding process, especially after standout Kean Baclaan opted to jump ship to the NU Bulldogs for his collegiate career.