May 21, 2020

Sneakers help Mark Barroca look back at his roots

DEPRIVED of having a number of playing shoes during his younger days, it later became a habit for guard Mark Barroca to collect sneakers when he can finally afford as many as he can.

The Magnolia guard admitted in the new episode of PBA Kamustahan about his craving to collect shoes borne out of his experience as a struggling player growing up.

"Since college, kasi galing akong Zamboanga, so wala (akong shoes). So tuwang-tuwa na ako na maka-shoes lang kahit isa," he recalled of his younger years during the Wednesday airing of the podcast on the PBA Facebook page.

"Yung panlaro namin isang sapatos, tsaka (minsan) isang tsinelas para makalaro lang."

When he was finally earning enough, the 34-year-old Barroca made sure he has some of the finest in his collection.

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"Kino-collect mo yung kailangan, yung ginagamit ni Michael Jordan (Nike Air) sa laro, ayun nakumpleto ko na," he said. "Dati nangongolekta ka kasi parang excited ka, e."

Barroca has since stop the practice and now settles wearing Nike Hyperdunks, which he's been using when he started playing in the PBA.

One of those he even considers a lucky charm.

"Since 2011 to 2015 (ko ginamit). Hanggan ngayon kini-keep ko ito," said the former Gilas Pilipinas playmaker as he showed the other pair of the shoes to fellow players CJ Perez of Columbian Dyip, TnT Katropa's Roger Pogoy, and Magnolia teammate Jio Jalalon in Part 1 of the podcast's Episode 2 hosted by Mark Luzon.

The years covered the stretch Barroca won championships with the Purefoods franchise beginning in 2012 (Commissioner's Cup) during his rookie season.

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"Tsaka yung sunud-sunod na apat namin," he added, referring to the 2013 Governors Cup and the grand slam season of 2014.

Even though the sneaker is already worn-out, Barroca just kept using it to the point former coach Tim Cone chided him about the matter.

"Nabubutas na sa sobra kong gusto (gamitin)," he said. "Pinagalitan na nga ako ni (coach) Tim Cone dati. Bakit daw ayaw ko magpalit ng shoes. Putol na nga yung sintas e, itinatali ko lang.

When he finally retired the shoe in 2015, it would take a while before Barroca would win another title, the championship spell finally came to an end until four years after.

"Sabi ko (nga) lucky charm yan, e," he said.

With the shoe abundant now in his behest, Barroca is not about to ignore where he came from.

Once the pandemic is over, the Magnolia guard plans to donate several of his used sneakers to friends and provincemates in Zamboanga.

"May plano ako, yung high school kung saan ako galing, mamimigay ako ng sapatos doon. I-bless ko lang sila," he said.

"Yun nga, ibibigay ko na lang (sapatos) lalo na doon sa mga nangangailangan. Sa mga kaibigan, sa mga kakilala. Yung mga hindi maka-afford ng sapatos. Ang mahal-mahal ng sapatos ngayon, e."