AFTER a successful tour with the RP Youth
Team and the start of a budding PABL career with the San Miguel franchise Magnolia Ice Cream, the life of Danny Francisco
would change forever.
During a routine physical check-up prior to the 1989 UAAP Season, doctors discovered that Danny
had an aneurysm in his
aorta had dilated, and continued exposure to physical exertion such as that demanded in playing basketball could cause untimely death.
After agonizing over what to do, Danny
family decided that he
would have to stop playing basketball and find ways to improve his
health, including taking medication.
soaring basketball career, which seemingly would have no limit, had abruptly ended.
would have been perfect, but it was not meant to be.
The period for grieving eventually passed and Danny
went on with his
life, staying close to the game he
loved, but now only from the sidelines.
In 1992, doctors in the United States performed a surgical procedure on Danny
, in an attempt to better his
But, alas, he
would not be able to resume his
After finishing his course at Ateneo in the same year, Danny started working in the hotel industry.
was still always a sight to see wherever he
went because of his
height and it would be safe to say that he
was probably the tallest hotelier in the country at the time.
Later, he transferred from working at a hotel to a sports club, becoming Sports and Games Manager of the Manila Polo Club in Makati City.
A few years thereafter, Danny tried his luck in business by working in a retail sports clothing franchise from the United States.
Through all his
endeavors, basketball, the game he
continued to love and observe from a distance, beckoned.
He sat as an analyst in the UAAP basketball coverage until 2002.
When the Metropolitan Basketball Association (MBA) was formed in the late 1990s, the Cebuana Lhuillier Gems hired Danny as team consultant.
also did some sportscasting for the MBA
During this time, the competitive fire of Danny
seemed to rekindle.
analysis of the game was honed from years of study, of observing, of learning its intricacies.
was critical â€" a trait that many television viewers did not appreciate â€" but frank.
said things about the game the way he
saw it, from his
high vantage point.
People recognized him and would ask questions. â€œWhat happened to this guy again?â€ â€œWhy is he
not playing in the PBA?â€ Having reconciled himself with the fact that basketball was just one of the many things he
could do in his
moved on and came back full circle to the game that moved him, that pushed him, earlier in his
In 2004, Danny was part of the National Basketball Development Program (NBDP), a program geared towards developing basketball in the country, with the end-view of re-establishing Philippine basketball glory.
At present, Danny is the Executive Assistant of Jean Henri Lhuillier, the President and CEO of the Cebuana Group of Companies.
Danny is also concurrently the General Manager of P & EL Realty Corporation, part of the Cebuana Group of Companies, handling acquisition and development of real estate properties and pawnshops.
Happily married to his wife, Leah, nee Magboo, since 1995 and blessed with three children, namely Juan Diego and twin girls Annika Danielle and Sofia Beatriz, Danny
is at peace.
took time out to discuss his
views on several topics.
says that there have been a lot of developments in terms of recruitment for all schools in the UAAP
Each school has been actively pursuing players.
This is good not only for the school program but for the players as well, since they get the opportunity to have quality education while pursuing a basketball career.
According to him, the early exit of La Salle in the recent UAAP season does not mean La Salle has a poor program.
It is just that the basketball recruitment cycle is now more balanced.
There are a lot of players to choose from, and Danny
is sure that La Salle was looking long-term in the players they recently recruited, to bear fruit in two to three years.
As for Ateneo
says the key to continued success is sustaining the recruitment program.
Of course, there are other factors involved such as the character of the student-athlete, his
study-habits, and new surroundings that may impede his
stay in a particular school.
As far as the UAAP
is concerned, Danny
has absolutely no involvement with the league today, other than being an occasional spectator.
, together with many past Ateneo greats, was present at the venue several times during the just-concluded UAAP season, where the Eagles won back-to-back titles.
mentions that the UAAP and the NCAA
are the premier basketball leagues in the country, thanks largely to the support of the media, particularly ABS-CBN.
Both leagues have grown considerably from previous years and become much more popular because of the marketing push of their various supporters and sponsors.
Most importantly, though, Danny
says, it is the fans that have shown, and continue to show, their true school spirit.
Danny looks back at Ateneo
with much affection and gratitude.
sees that Ateneo
embarked on a recruitment program aimed at accepting student-athletes who can serve the school in the different sports disciplines.
Of course, the thrust in Ateneo
, as in almost every other school, is in basketball, which is recognized as the most popular and prestigious sport.
, however, would like to see all sports in the school ably supported by the students, alumni and school officials.
is proud of the fact that Ateneo
has continued to promote sports and sports development without having to sacrifice the quality of the education it provides, as well as the quality of its students.
Regarding the Ateneo Seniorsâ€™
basketball team, it is obvious that the support for it has been tremendous, especially in recent years.
On winning back-to-back championships and duplicating what Danny and his
teammates did in â€™87-â€™88, Danny feels that it was an end-result of planning and implementation on the part of the Ateneo
In 2004, when asked about the state and future of Philippine basketball, Danny
declared that he
did not think the Philippines could recover its lost glory in the sport without the collective effort of all governing bodies of basketball in the country, from high school all the way to the professional leagues.
felt that players had lost the true meaning of playing for the national team and wearing the national colors.
When called upon to play for the national team, every player must leave behind any other affiliation, just as the players of our Asian neighbors do.
Somehow, we are blinded by our past glory and believe that we are still the best, even if it is crystal clear that we no longer are.
And, instead of trying to improve after another setback in international competition and trying to figure out the reasons for failure, we tend to begin the never-ending nitpicking and finger-pointing that Filipinos are wont to do whenever they are on the losing end.
The success formula, if ever it is found, will not work overnight.
According to Danny
, it could take many years.
However, the process of finding the formula has to start right now.
The current program, Danny
thinks, looks good.
It is similar to the program he
was a part of starting in 2003.
The idea was to set targets for the national team, one team targeting the SEA Games and the Asian Games, looking at challenges that are reasonable and reachable.
The journey of Danny Francisco
has been filled with ups and downs.
has experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.
has felt on top of the world at one moment, only to crash down to earth in the next.
is the perfect example of â€œwhat might have been.â€
Through it all, he
has made himself into a success, in spite of the disappointments along the way.
Curiously, when Danny
was playing in the UAAP Juniorsâ€™
and Seniorsâ€™ basketball tournaments in the late â€˜80s, there were no individual awards given.
There were no MVPs, Rookies of the Year or Mythical Fives.
was a winner at every level he
stresses that team success always outweighed his
is not an icon in Philippine basketball.
did not have enough time to become one.
is a special awardee of the Ateneo Hall of Fame
and, undoubtedly, he
was a star in the UAAP
enjoyed, for a fleeting period of time, the success of which many young Filipinos can only dream.
I'm not a Fan of Benjie Paras and I am assuming that you're a fan of Danny Francisco