//Spotlight

7 Filipino Athletes Who Aced the Dad Game and Raised More Sporting Talents

With the support of their dads, these rising athletes are making names for themselves.

We do not have a shortage of sporting Filipino families and athlete-dads (the Ravenas, the Ildefonsos, and the Tengs to name a few). After all, when kids grow up seeing their parents excel on the court or the field, it’s hard not to fall in love with the highs and lows of sports. In the same way, it’s also hard for parents to not pass on their passion for sports to their kids, and that’s what these fathers have done.

Just like coaches passing the torch to their players, these athletic fathers have passed down their love for sports to their kids.

Ervin Sotto
Kai and Ervin Sotto with their family. (Photo credit: Pamela Sotto on Facebook)

Kai Sotto has already made a name for himself at just 22 years old. Standing at 7-foot-3, the Filipino baller has played all over the world — in the Australian National Basketball League, the Japanese B.League, and perhaps most notably, in the NBA Summer League. It can’t be easy navigating the world of professional basketball at such a young age, but it must help that Kai has someone on his team who’s been through it, too: his dad, Ervin Sotto.

On top of being a Filipino athlete-dad, Ervin Sotto was a former PBA champion and coach. He spent 12 years in the league, and just like his son, also represented the Philippines. In fact, Ervin is a SEA Games gold medalist. Having a proven winner as a father is a definite advantage for Kai, and the youngster often expresses how his dad’s guidance has helped his career flourish.

Jose “Cely” Villaneuva
Jose “Cely” Villanueva. (Photo credit: Boxing Rec)

As far as Filipino father-and-son athlete duos in the go, it doesn’t get much more historical than the Villanuevas.

Jose “Cely” Villanueva was the Philippines’ first-ever Olympic medalist. In the 1932 Los Angeles Summer Games, Cely won the bronze medal in the bantamweight Olympic boxing tournament to plant the Philippine flag on the map. Thirty-two years later, his son, Anthony, returned to the Olympic stage to succeed his father’s legacy — and he did.

Anthony went a step further and became the first Filipino to win a silver medal in the Olympics, and he returned to the Philippines as a hero.

Samboy Lim
Samboy and Jamie Lim. (Photo credit: Jamie Lim on Instagram)

Samboy Lim, also known as “The Skywalker,” is one of the greatest Filipino basketball players of all time. He was a nine-time PBA champion, a five-time PBA All-Star, and was inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame. On top of this, he was also a two-time SEA Games gold medalist, he led the Philippine Men’s National Basketball Team to a gold medal in the 1985 FIBA Asia Championship, and a gold medal finish in the 1984 FIBA Asia Champions Cup.

Winning was in his blood, and this Filipino athlete-dad passed this on to his daughter, Jamie Lim.

Jamie Lim took her innate competitive spirit into her own art form: karate. As a karateka, she has won many medals for the Philippines — two golds, one silver, and two bronzes from the SEA Games, and a silver medal from the Asian Karatedo Championships.

Rodel Canino
Rodel & Angel Canino. (Photo credit: Rodel Canino on X)

Angel Canino is one of the Philippines’ most promising young volleyball players right now. Not only is she the star player of the DLSU Lady Archers, but she is also a hugely impactful talent for the national squad, Alas Pilipinas. But, she isn’t the first Canino to represent the Philippines as a volleyball player. Her dad, Rodel Canino, was a former national athlete himself.

Rodel is a former national men’s volleyball team player who has dedicated his life to the sport. Following his career as a player, he moved on to coaching and is currently a part of the coaching staff of the PVL team, Akari.

Eddie Laure
Eddie Laure with his two volleybelle daughters. (Photo credit: EJ Laure on Instagram)

Former Metropolitan Basketball Association (MBA) champion and former PBA player Eddie Laure, also known as “The Dominator,” raised not one but two volleyball talents, EJ and Eya Laure, and a young basketball star.

EJ and Eya have a lot in common as volleyball players. Both played for the UST Golden Tigresses in their UAAP careers and both became team captains of the squad. On top of this, both of them also now play for the same Premier Volleyball League team: the Chery Tiggo Crossovers.

On the other hand, their brother, Echo, has a whole roster of athletes to look up to as a young basketball player for the UST high school team.

Jayvee Gayoso
Jayvee and Jarvey Gayoso. (Photo credit: Jarvey Gayoso on Instagram)

You probably remember Jayvee Gayoso as a former Ateneo basketball star and a former PBA player who represented Barangay Ginebra in the 1990s. With this, it’s no surprise that Jayvee introduced basketball to his son, Jarvey, at a young age.

But even though his son tried basketball and enjoyed it, football became Jarvey’s true passion. Now, Jarvey is blazing a path all on his own. As a footballer, he is one of the Philippine Men’s National Football Team’s best players and he currently competes for Kaya-Iloilo in the Philippines Football League. It may not be the same sport as his dad’s, but he still has the same winning mentality.

Fritz Gaston
Fritz Gaston (sitting, wearing colored shirt) with his family. (Photo credit: Pauline Gaston on Instagram)

Fritz Gaston has dedicated his life to sports. He was a former basketball player who became an NCAA champion with the Ateneo Blue Eagles and a PBA champion with U-Tex in 1980. Following his playing career, he moved on to coaching his alma mater and now, he is the PSC’s Commissioner.

With this, it’s no surprise that his daughter, Pauline, was exposed to sports all her life and became an elite volleyball player herself. Like her father, she also represented Ateneo in her UAAP career and even captained her collegiate squad, and she now plays for the PVL team, Chery Tiggo Crossovers, where she pays tribute to her Filipino athlete-dad by sporting his jersey number, 22.

Banner image from Kai Sotto on Instagram.


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