Gerry Malixi

One of the funniest guys you’ll meet is my good friend Gerry Malixi. With the above photo, here’s the text of the e-mail he sent me last week: “I was VERY BUSY yesterday but since this guy people call “PACMAN” practically begged to have his photo taken with me, I had to oblige.”

Gerry’s funny. He’s also a big sports fanatic. Here’s a full-length article I wrote about Gerry last April 6, 2006 entitled “Like Son, Like Father.”

Gerry Malixi plays basketball. He plays volleyball. He plays badminton. He lifts weights, swims and, on a square ring wrapped with rope, he boxes. He watches tennis on ESPN and marvels at James Blake and this guy named Roger. Next week, he’ll troop to the Mandaue Coliseum to watch Dennis Rodman and the NBA All-Stars. And on July 2 at the Araneta Coliseum, he’ll scream for Manny Pacquiao to cook a Mexican taco called Oscar Larios.

I know many sports men, sports aficionados, sports lovers. But few match the passion and fanaticism of Gerry Malixi.

As a little boy in elementary, Gerry swam. He didn’t dog-paddle or jump off the pool edge like little 9-year-olds do. He swam. For the De La Salle University varsity team.

Volleyball? Sure. This time in high school. He spiked, leapt high and blocked shots for the La Salle Greenhills six-man squad.

Basketball? Of course. In the same high school, he dribbled and shot 3-pointers and wore green-and-white. Two of his varsity teammates made it to the PBA: Erick Reyes and Joey Guanio.

Back in 1983 as a 15-year-old, he dreamt of watching the NBA. A dream come true it became. Gerry watched the NBA “live.” It wasn’t just any game but the historic 1983 Championship Game 4 of the 76’ers over the Lakers (when they swept 4-0). “My twin brother and I were at courtside,” he recalled. “I will never forget watching Dr. J, Magic, James Worthy, Moses Malone, Maurice Cheeks live. After the game, we waited for the Lakers and I got Jabbar’s autograph!”

Basketball is still dribbling in Gerry’s veins. Three years back, he scored the winning basket as “One on One” champion at the City Sports Club. “I still play regularly,” he tells me. “But with guys 35 and up to make sure the younger guys (including your brother Charlie) don’t laugh at my two-inch vertical leap.” (He’s joking, of course.)

Gerry Malixi is a sportsman, sports fan.

Badminton? Ahh, Gerry sighs. Who hasn’t been magnetized by its gravitational pull?

He started badminton in high school. At that time in Manila, he recalls, the only courts were the Manila Polo Club, Alabang Country Club and Valle Verde. Three clubs. Badminton. This was the 1980s. Today, says Gerry, “there are more badminton courts than lechon manok stalls!”

“I play with different groups: Mike Yu, Jomi Tan, Joe Espiritu, Didi Gullas at City Sports Club and Alex Ranola and Felix Tan at Metro Sports. I’m Class C lang! Felix Tan and I won the Thirsty Badminton tournament last year. Class C lang! Too old to play against the younger guys.”

Injuries? I asked. “Too many! Too old! Aching knees, wrists, ankles. My worst injury is AGE.”

“Gone are the days,” Gerry added, “when people think of badminton as a sport you play in your backyard with plastic shuttle cocks and steel rackets. The shuttle cock has been clocked at over 200kph! Watching the pros on TV is sometimes more exciting than watching Wimbledon or the US Open!

“This is also a sport where the guys DO NOT automatically dominate the ladies. The ladies do not hit as hard but placing is their game. I even think that the best RP men’s team will have a hard time against the world champion women’s team! The Filipino men could probably beat them but the ladies will put up a great fight.

“I highly recommend the sport to people who want a good cardio work out. This sport may also improve your flexibility and reflexes. For the older athletes, the courts now available in Cebu are very well built to reduce the impact on the knees and ankles.”

Gerry Malixi is a sportsman, sports fan.

He’s also a successful entrepreneur, operating Genergex, the company that offers less-expensive diesel fuel. Originally from Manila, he’s called Cebu home for 10 years now. When I asked which he prefers, I got this reply: “I wouldn’t relocate back to Manila if you held a gun to my head!”

Gerry, 38, is married to one of Cebu’s prettiest, Sari Garcia. Just Monday last week, the couple became first time parents. When I congratulated him and asked for his son’s name, here’s the text message reply I got…

“Introducing: The first Filipino NBA player OR the 2023 Wimbledon tennis champion OR the 2025 WBA Lightweight boxing champion of the world… Ivan Joseph Malixi!”

What did I say? A sportsman, sports fan.

Now, a sports dad.

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