The ongoing PBA Commissioner’s Cup best-of-seven finals series features San Miguel Beer and TNT, two corporate rivals and flagship of giant companies SMC and MVP Group of Companies, but family members competing in both squads serves as a fitting backdrop to this exciting and interesting championship match up.
Brothers Ranidel and Yancy de Ocampo have found themselves on the opposing ends, trying to help their respective team win a championship.
Both players are used to winning games and championship together ever since they started playing. The two were part of the multi-titled St. Francis of Assisi Doves that won several titles in the NCRAA. Their championship battles, including the one they had against the Gary David-led Lyceum Pirates were one of the memorable games they had in their young collegiate career.
For several years during the stretch of 2008-2010, the De Ocampos relished the moment together winning more titles in the PBA with the Talk ‘N Text Phone Pals until they parted ways in 2011.
The De Ocampos had also found themselves on the opposing sides several years ago when Yancy, the older of the two, squared off with Ranidel when the former was still playing for the San Mig Coffee Mixers during their grand slam campaign.
This time, Yancy and Ranidel are once again at it.
The elder De Ocampo, who had won four championships while playing as reliever of reigning three-time MVP June Mar Fajardo, is looking to put one anew against his younger brother in the ongoing finals series.
The Beermen had a 3-2 lead in the series and could win their fifth title in two years with a win in their scheduled Game 6 encounter which is still being played as of press time.
But Ranidel, the team captain of the KaTropa, is willing to keep the fight and help his team in ending the Beermen’s dominance in the league.
Once a potent offensive threat, Ranidel is a six-time PBA champion, a former Finals MVP and a many-time member of the Gilas Pilipinas squad. Now at the twilight of his career, he had already identified a player who has started to take over his spot — young stretch four forward Troy Rosario.
Ranidel and Yancy don’t have many more chances left in terms of winning championships and both of them are willing to set aside the brotherly love and fulfill a mission of helping their respective teams win.
It is also the same path being taken by twin brothers Anthony and David Semerad. They are the first twins to play either against each other or together in the PBA finals series.
Both players had won championships with the San Beda Red Lions, but when they turned pro, they had taken different paths.
Anthony, the more offensive-minded among the two, is cherishing the opportunity of playing in his first ever PBA finals, but he is not about to pull his punches facing his brother, David.
David, known more as an enforcer, was lucky enough to win four championships despite playing the dirty job of getting to the throats of the star players. Like Anthony, he is ready to take it on anybody, including his brother.
Yancy and Ranidel. Anthony and David. Each one of them had developed a tight-knit relationship as brothers, but once the buzzer sounded, they now they have a job to do and they’re ready to set aside the bond that is happening among them.
They’re brothers at war.
Rey Joble has been a sportswriter for 19 years, and has been covering the PBA games for more than a decade. He is a member of the PBA Press Corps and Philippine Sportswriters Association, the oldest journalism group in the country.