Latest Stories

The chosen one



Ten-year-old Ronan Raphael Padriga wanted to wear his LeBron James jersey to the Witness History Tour but couldn’t. He had worn it just two days before, in an exhibition game.

“I need to wear red or black, Mom, Miami Heat colors,” he told his mother Ruth Padriga, head writer for the ABS-CBN show “Showtime.” She dug around their attic and found a red shirt for him.

It was almost a miracle that Ronan would be able to see LeBron James live. When he first heard that the NBA superstar was coming, he asked his mom if they could watch him. When they found out that the only way to get tickets was to line up at Nike Park in Bonifacio Global City, their family driver offered to do it.

He took the day off, lined up as early as five in the morning and kept Ronan’s mom updated. “At one point, he said, sure na, kasama siya sa last 100 to get tickets. Pero when I called again, one ticket left daw. Tapos, wala na. Naubos yung tickets. At 10 p.m., he left empty-handed,” said Ruth.

Refusing to give up, Ruth asked her niece Dianne, also a LeBron fan, to search for tickets online. But they were not about to pay exorbitant scalper prices.

Big LeBron fan

He may be only 10 but Ronan has been a LeBron James fan since the NBA cager’s Cleveland Cavaliers days. Ronan said, “LeBron is a good shooter and has cool, dazzling dunks.”

Ronan was in school during the 2013 NBA Finals, when LeBron and the rest of Miami Heat battled the San Antonio Spurs, so the Ateneo student went to the library during recess to get updates and watch clips of the game.

RONAN waves to Lebron as the NBA champ points to him. JILL LEJANO

He doesn’t just enjoy watching basketball, he plays, too. Ronan said, “I love basketball, it keeps me from being bored. I always learn something new. It’s more fun to play than other sport I’ve tried. Basketball makes me happy.”

His mom said, “He started training when he was six. He really enjoys doing it. He hopes to join the Ateneo Blue Eagles one day.” His parents happily support his passion, encouraging his love of basketball. For his birthday in February, they gifted him with a pair of LeBron’s Nike basketball shoes.

He is a true LeBron fan—a big fan—so it was understandable that Ronan was sad to still be without tickets the night before the event. His mom said, “Naluluha siya. I asked, why are you crying? And he said, sayang, he didn’t have classes the next day, chance na niya sana to see LeBron na super idol niya.”

As a last-ditch effort, she posted this on Twitter: “Desperately looking for LeBron tickets at the MOA Arena tom. Raph would be so happy. Timing wala silang pasok! Sino meron diyan for sale?”

The next day, she woke up to a tweet from one of her Twitter followers, Jessica Abenir, who was willing to give her two Lower Box tickets. Ronan was going to see LeBron, after all.

Ruth had to work that day, so it was Dianne who went with Ronan to the Mall of Asia Arena. When “Showtime” host Jugs Jugueta heard that Ruth’s son was already in the arena, Jugs asked Ruth to go with him after their taping—he had an extra ticket.

FROM LOWER BOX TO COURTSIDE Ronan about to meet his idol. JILL LEJANO

“We ended up in the Upper Box area. We could see Ronan from where we were,” she said.



After his basketball clinic that thrilled both the fans and the young players he shared the court with, LeBron scanned the crowd for a special kid, someone who would be the recipient of the autographed jersey he just used. His eyes landed on Ronan. “The kid in red,” LeBron said, and soon, someone was lifting Ronan up from his Lower Box spot and handing him over to LeBron who was standing courtside. The crowd cheered. LeBron gave Ronan his jersey, high-fived him and whispered a special message that Ronan almost forgot because of his excitement. He later told his mom, “LeBron said something inspiring, something like not quitting on your dream.”

Later, Ronan told us, “I thought LeBron was pointing at someone else until he said “the boy in the red shirt.” I got so excited and had goose bumps.”

After the show, LeBron fans flocked around Ronan, asking to have photos taken with him and his jersey, calling him the luckiest little boy. Even at Starbucks where they made a post-show pit stop, LeBron fans still recognized him and asked for photos.

“Who would have thought? It’s like the universe conspired,” Ruth said, thrilled that her son’s wish came true. The kid who couldn’t wear his LeBron jersey to the Witness History Tour ended up going home with LeBron’s own.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: ABS-CBN show , LeBron James , NBA superstar , Ronan Raphael Padriga , Ruth Padriga , Super , Witness History Tour , “Showtime”

  • styx

    while im happy for the kid….i wonder how many less fortunate kids missed this event….halos lahat ng nakapanood nasa middle class or nasa upper echelon ng society….may presyo talaga ang ligaya ng tao…..

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. 12 other things you can do at Pico de Loro Cove
  2. Lover’s quarrel linked to hunger – study
  3. Encounter with a ‘Mangkukulam’
  4. ‘Kamias’ for fever, ‘siling labuyo’ for headache–first aid in the kitchen
  5. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  6. Summer treat for your aspiring astronomers
  7. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  8. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  9. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  10. ‘Heaven is for Real’: Nonfiction book on life after death reaches screen
  1. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  2. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  3. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  4. France makes work beyond 6 p.m. illegal
  5. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  6. South Koreans crave Asia’s smelliest fish
  7. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  8. Ever heard of HydroBob?
  9. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  10. Boots Anson-Roa to wed in Eddie Baddeo
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  4. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer
  10. Ex-Givenchy model fights for ‘Yolanda’ survivors


  • UN warns banana fungus spreading from Southeast Asia
  • Massive infra spending set
  • ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  • Cardinal Tagle to faithful: Join politics to clean it
  • Our Lady of Piat: Centerpiece of Cagayan’s gifts to Christianity
  • Sports

  • Federer would skip tennis to be with wife, newborn
  • Manny Pacquiao in PBA? If so, he’ll wear No. 17
  • PSC sets Blu Girls US training
  • Power Pinoys settle for 7th place
  • Successful coaches to get raise
  • Lifestyle

  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • The truffled mac ‘n’ cheese, eggs benedict, chicken leg confit are excellent
  • Entertainment

  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Derek more private with new girlfriend
  • ‘Community’ star happy with return of show’s creator
  • Jealousy is kid stuff
  • Mommy-daughter adventure continues
  • Business

  • PH presses bid to keep rice import controls
  • PSEi continues to gain
  • Number of retrenched workers rose by 42% in ’13
  • PH seen to sustain rise in FDIs
  • Gov’t subsidies to state firms fell in first 2 months
  • Technology

  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Another reason to quit social media this Holy Week: your safety
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
  • UC Irvine cultural night to dramatize clash of values in immigrant family
  • Filipino sweets and info served at UC Berkeley Spring Fest
  • Milpitas, California kids wrap up a successful run of ‘The Wiz’
  • Netizens welcome Japan’s visa-free travel plan