JAMIE Malonzo may be born and raised in the U.S. bit he remains a Filipino both in manner and at heart.
Thanks to his Filipina mother, the 6-foot-6 forward learned to love everything about the country and its people.
Malonzo would say 'po' and 'opo' when he talks to elderly people and has a fancy eating Filipino dishes since his mother hails from Pampanga, the acknowledged culinary capital of the Philippines.
"Growing up I always tried to be a proud Filipino, whether it was rooting for (Manny) Pacquiao or representing the country," said the Fil-Am, a projected top pick in next month's PBA draft. "I always thought of coming back to the Philippines but I never had a chance to growing up."
The former La Salle stalwart added his mother had a big influence on him especially in eating Filipino food, sinigang being his favorite.
"She cooks the best Filipino food, I promise," said Malonzo "My favorite dish is sinigang. I know waking up she always had that for (our) breakfast."
The Fil-Am player also fancies dinuguan especially when he was growing up, but later gave up eating the dish when he found out the ingredients being used to cook it.
"I started to shy away from it. I stopped eating it," he said with a laugh during his guesting stint in the sports show The Chasedown on One PH. "I think I finally asked a little bit when I'm older."
Still, Malonzo said he'll try eating the dish anew once he returns to the country.
And then there's the all-time favorite adobo and Pampanga's own brand of sisig.
"I tried the sisig in the Philippines and I liked it a lot," said Malonzo.
The product of Portland State and prot?g? of PBA great Danny Seigle describes himself as a super nice guy, who vows to learn more a lot of Filipino stuff and words once he finally gets to play in Asia's first ever play-for-pay league.
"I'm working on my Tagalog (more) to be able to connect to others," said Malonzo.
Currently in Las Vegas, Malonzo vows he'll be in the country just before the March 14 draft. (RG)