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
Rey Pages, a star? No. Superstar.
In college, he was plucked from
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
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
Back then, Rey Pages, all of 6-foot-1, stood tall. Twice they traveled to
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
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.