In Thailand, Paul Zamar resuscitates PBA dream with Mono Vampire

first_imgSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkLife seemed to have been at its best for Zamar back in 2016.Marrying longtime girlfriend Jane Arcangel in April, the steady playmaker out of University of the East churned out an MVP-caliber performance for Cafe France as he steered the Bakers to the 2016 Aspirants’ Cup Finals. “I’m thankful to the ABL because they give us players a chance,” he said.Looking back, things would have been different for the 31-year-old had he decided to leave the game for good.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown Meralco ‘never the same’ after Almazan injury in PBA Finals He continued that solid outing in the 2016 Foundation Cup, but the Bakers once again crashed to the powerhouse Phoenix squad, which eventually won both PBA D-League titles that season.Though his team fell short, Zamar’s performance alone should have merited a call up, an invite at the very least, to the big league.Paul Zamar delivered solid performances for Cafe France in the PBA D-League before the team decided to change directions, leaving the former UE playmaker without a team. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netSome things, however, just weren’t in his control, and with Cafe France opting to go on a different direction, that left the 5-foot-11 Zamar unemployed. Without a direction to latch onto going forward, and with his PBA dream as distant as ever, Zamar’s situation almost drove him to depression.Paul’s father, Boycie, meanwhile, approached it differently, telling his son to keep on playing. After all, the now-San Miguel assistant coach himself has experienced this overseas way of living as he played and coached in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore years before.“Life is unfair, and that’s always the case,” he told his son then. “You have a choice to do good things or bad things. Either way, people will say something at you, so it’s better that you just do good.”ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Redemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie Thompson Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Brian Heruela arrival bolsters Phoenix backcourt, defense Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina “I was still feeling my way in the beginning, but after two weeks of playing with them, it eventually became ok,” he said, as he spent the last six months of his life living in Bangkok. “It’s still different that you’ll go to the games on the road compared to here that we’re always flying. But I feel ok here with the freedom the coach has been giving me in the games.”Mono Vampire’s Paul Zamar tries to evade the defense of fellow Filipino Christian Standhardinger of Hong Kong Eastern. Photo from ASEAN Basketball LeagueBut Zamar isn’t looking at this run as a demotion of sorts. Moreover, he feels challenged with the improved competition in the region, a testament to the evolution of the ABL over the years.“I was watching ABL before and I felt that I would like to play here because I saw the competition. A number of Filipinos have also played here, and we’re taking on American imports.Before, there are only Southeast Asian teams. But now, East Asian teams are joining like China, Hong Kong, and Chinese Taipei, so the level of play here in the ABL has truly improved,” he said. “You can say that it’s the best of the best of the countries that are being sent here, and it really fuels me to perform at my best, especially that I’m looked at here as an import. It really tests me to be on my toes because I’m out of my comfort zone and as my father reminded me, I’m always under the microscope as an import.”The cream always rises to the top, and for Zamar, this stint has been nothing but promising, as he averages 15.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 3.4 assists in his seven games for Mono Vampire this season.Zamar has been nothing short of impressive but he reiterates that he still hasn’t given up on coming back home and playing in the PBA, where he was drafted in the fourth round by Ginebra back in 2012.“Home is where the heart is,” he said. “My family, my wife is in the Philippines. It’s hard here abroad where I’m always alone. Sometimes, you’ll wake up and you’re all by your lonesome. It’s really difficult. That’s why if there’s a chance for me to make it to the PBA, I will really grab it.”But now that the opportunity is dry, Zamar is content on making his name and improving his game in Thailand.“For now, I’m thankful for this opportunity that I’m getting here in Mono. I’ll concentrate on my job here.”Photo from ASEAN Basketball Leaguecenter_img When life knocks you down, you have a choice: Stay down or get back up.Paul Zamar chose the latter—continuing his basketball dream in Thailand, where he plays for Mono Vampire in the 2018 ASEAN Basketball League.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson View comments LATEST STORIES Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Depleted Bolts get boost from Canaleta, new additions OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Those words reverberated for the younger Zamar, and until this day, he keeps that in his mind, driving him to continue dreaming.That led him overseas to his new home in Mono Thewphaingarm, where he immediately brought the house down and set a new Thailand Basketball Super League scoring record of 52 points in the team’s victory over Hi-Tech back in June.His stupendous run in the local league led to his eventual stint with Mono Vampire in the ABL, where he now forms a killer backcourt duo with Fil-Am court general Jason Brickman.“The PBA is still crowded for us guards and we know have to work. As players, we want to improve, continue playing, and still be visible to the public. The chance is being given here for us and we’re just taking this opportunity,” he said.Mono Vampire’s @paulzamar willingly obliges for photos with Thai kids after the game. #ABL8— Randolph B. Leongson (@RLeongsonINQ) December 8, 2017In Mono Vampire, Zamar is a superstar, with the team expecting him to rack up solid numbers and be one of the key cogs to lead the team to victories. That also comes with the perks of his popularity with young basketball players try to chase him after games asking for picture and autographs.He’s not alone, though, as a number of Filipino cagers have taken their acts internationally and are now counted on as Heritage Imports in the ABL. Names like Leo Avenido, Jerick Cañada, and Froilan Baguion made lasting impact in their respective stints in regional circuit previously, with former PBA players like Reil Cervantes, Rudy Lingganay, and James Forrester now following suit.Zamar didn’t deny that it took him a lot of time before he was able to adjust to this brand new setting, from meshing with his new teammates as well as inculcating himself to the new culture. But what fast-tracked Zamar’s adjustment period is the same reason that drove him to this foreign land — the game of basketball. Scottie Thompson also worthy of Finals MVP, thinks Conelast_img read more