Rey Pages: Our Family Superstar

LAST April 29 in Valencia, Bukidnon, our family held a reunion in honor of my grandmother, Dr. Paulina “Bing” Pages, who celebrated her 84th birthday. In attendance were my dad and his brothers and sisters, including the most known “Pages” in our clan… Rey Pages.

Here’s an article I wrote about my uncle in September of last year for Sun.Star Cebu…

He is the most famous member of the family. Up until today, over three decades after he first slipped on that green jersey named Crispa Redmanizers, whenever I introduce myself, people always stop to ask, “Are you related to Rey Pages?”

I am. I’m proud to call him “Tito Rey,” the younger brother of my dad who once stood as Cebuano Idol, more famous than any other sportsman during his time.

Last June of this year, we were at the San Remigio Beach Resort for the family’s biennial reunion. After the usual “hello’s,” we escaped to a familiar scene: that tall circular steel rim hanging with the net and, on his hands, an orange ball.

“How many can you shoot?” I asked. He smiled. And went to work… “One, two, three…” I counted. “Four, five, six…” Every smooth release of the ball, every follow-through, every swoosh of the ball to the bucket, he stood relaxed. “Seven, eight, nine…” 10!

An hour or so later, the boys had crowded the court and a four-on-four ensued. Drilling 20-footers as effortlessly as a little boy would throwing pebbles into the lake, guess who scored the most points?

Rey Pages’ story began in the mid-1960s at the University of San Carlos. He scored the most points. People clapped. They screamed. He moved to the Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos and averaged more than 18 points, back when they had no three-pointers. For two years, he played Batman-and-Robin on the rectangle floor with his best friend, Bernard Fabiosa.

Rey Pages, a star? No. Superstar.

In college, he was plucked from Cebu and asked to strip and wear all-green. At La Salle, he became the team’s second-highest scorer (behind Lim Eng Beng). Next, he hopped to the Concepcion team before moving to the squad that immortalized his name…

Crispa. To those who followed the PBA in the ‘70s and ‘80s, didn’t you just love those days? I miss those days when you only chose between two: green or red, Crispa or Toyota.

From 1974 to 1981, Rey Pages donned the Crispa uniform. You know his friends. Atoy Co. Philip Cesar. Bogs Adornado. Abet Guidaben. Bernie Fabiosa. Johnny Revilla. Rudy Soriano. Freddie Hubalde. You also remember Team Toyota: Robert Jaworski, Abe King, Francis Arnaiz, Ompong Segura and, of course, Ramon Fernandez.

“What reminds you most of those days?” I asked.

“1976,” he said. “The year we scored a grand slam. As prize, we joined the Goodwill Games. We went to Hong Kong, then to Hawaii.”

Back then, Rey Pages, all of 6-foot-1, stood tall. Twice they traveled to Hawaii, four times to Hong Kong. He owned a brand-new Mitsubishi Galant, then later a hatchback two-door Toyota Corolla SR, then a sporty Mitsubishi Celeste.

He was so popular that his younger sister Grace (Vargas) became well-known at her Insular Life office because “she’s the sister of Rey Pages.”

In my case, I was barely 10 years old then but I recall that whenever he’d visit Bacolod, our house grew chaotic and people crammed to see him throw hoops at our backyard court.

My uncle Rey (left) with my father Bunny and my little brother Charlie

 

After eight years with Crispa, Rey moved to Utex Wrangler in 1982. As fate would have it, he dislocated his shoulder. It turned so painful that, at a youthful age of 29, he quit.

Today, almost 25 years since, Rey Pages has lived the non-pro basketball life. He relocated to Los Banos, Laguna, where my grandmother, Dr. Paulina “Bing” Pages, was a top botanist at U.P. He went into business: from landscaping to the supplying of plants (you see those coconut trees at Shangri-La in Mactan, many were supplied and planted by his men). Now, he’s into the selling of vehicles in Calamba, Laguna. He lives with his wife Gloria and they have many children. No, not the ones born by them but those in four legs. “We have 30 dogs and cats,” he said. “They climb the table, sit beside and eat with us. They sleep with us.”

Basketball? In smaller leagues, he played on. When called to play a Crispa exhibition game against Manny Victorino and Jimmy Santos, in six minutes he drilled 12 points. In their league in Laguna, he would score 30-plus points. And this was against 20-year-olds. He is 53.

Last year, he received news from the doctor that tore him: “Stop playing!” he was told, after he tore ligaments in his left knee. “Play and you’ll be in a wheelchair for life.”

Rey Pages? Quitting basketball? Is this possible?

Not during our reunion. Not when that basketball continues to dribble inside disguised as his heartbeat. Not when you score 10 out of 10.

5 thoughts on “Rey Pages: Our Family Superstar

  1. thanks for this wonderful trivia about Mr. Rey Pages who played in the pba (crispa and u-tex) now I know he also palyed in Lasalle together with Lim Eng Beng.
    mabuhay ka Rey

  2. Bigla na lang sumagi si Rey Pages sa isip ko, Kamusta na kaya siya? I remember, decimated ang Crispa noon. Siya nagdala ng team kasama ni Brodett, Afable atbp. Yung 20 ft. turn around fade away from quarter court,

  3. Hi,

    Thank you for your very interesting blog about Rey Pages.

    I would mention that your grandmother Dr. Bing Pages is my ninang. I also personally know your grandfather Maning, your Tito Rey, your Tito Edwin, your Tita Grace, and your Tito Mark. However, I am puzzled why I have not met your dad Bunny… Anyway, Ninang Bing’s family and my mom Luz Baltazar-Fernandez’s family were long-time friends in U.P. Los Baños and our families were also neighbors in Paco, Manila during the 70s to early 80s.

    With kindest regards,

    Dodo

  4. Wow! Great write-up about Rey Pages. I have known him through one of his brothers, “Kuya” Edwin, in Los Baños.

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