By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
Senior Reporter

CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE to do his thing as a player in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) as action is suspended with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, Jesse Bustos is flexing his other skill while basketball is in hiatus — as a photojournalist.

Employed by broadsheet Philippine Star, Mr. Bustos, 33, who plays for the Pasay Voyagers in the MPBL, has seen himself parlaying his wares on a different field amid COVID-19, covering events in Pasay, Taguig, and his hometown of Parañaque while the National Capital Region continues to be under enhanced community quarantine.

It is a challenge that Mr. Bustos is taking on with much drive, seeing it as a career fallback when his playing days are over.

“Basketball is not forever and I’m not getting any younger. I asked veteran photographers in Star to teach me added skills to what I already knew and I started from there,” said Mr. Bustos, who has been part of Philippine Star since 2016.

The 6’3” player said being in the frontline in the time of COVID-19 entails a lot of hard work and caution, but is also fulfilling.

“When you are in the media you have to be at the frontline and report what is happening. You have to be careful though since COVID-19 is highly contagious,” shared Mr. Bustos.

Adding, “But it is fulfilling because we get to help other people by showing to them what is happening out there as the country deals with this disease.”

And the precaution does not stop on the field, Mr. Bustos further noted, as he also makes sure that he is free from the disease when he returns to his home.

“In the car I already change my clothing because I’m thinking of my loved ones. I also immediately take a bath,” he said.

Mr. Bustos played 18 games for Pasay in the Lakan season of the MPBL. The Voyagers finished eighth in the North Division with a 17-13 record and booked a spot in the playoffs. It was, however, swept by San Juan in their best-of-three quarterfinal series.