When it came to basketball idols, Gilas Pilipinas Women player Gabi Bade didn’t have to look too far.
Her father, Chris Bade, is a former professional basketball player who played in the MBA and PBA. However, one of the sweetest parallels between them is that they both suited up for the national team and won a gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games, 29 years apart.
“It was mostly my dad that inspired me to play basketball. Obviously, it was instilled in me growing up but him being by my side, he was really motivational and inspirational,” said Gabi.
Like many Filipino households, the Bade family grew up surrounded by basketball. She fondly recalls when she was six years old when her dad got her and her sister a hoop set in their backyard. Since then, Gabi never looked back and truly fell in love with the game.
Her dad has been her mentor since that time, teaching her how to play the game of basketball. When Gabi started playing more seriously, her father helped her improve other parts of her game. He would coach her on the court, while also sending Gabi uplifting messages, teachings, and advice.
“I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for him. He was really just a big impact on my life and I’m just forever grateful for what he’s done,” Gabi mentioned. “After every obstacle I faced, he was always there to support me. He never left my side.”
Being part of an athlete family is extremely challenging. People can’t help but compare the parents to their children, often pitting one against the other. For Gabi, though, she sees it just like any other occupation that builds a legacy. For some families it’s going into law or medicine, for Gabi it’s staying in sports. And fortunately for Gabi and her sister, her parents never put that burden on them, especially their father.
“They never really put pressure on us growing up. The only thing that my dad put pressure on me was to ‘always have a chip on your shoulder,’” said Gabi. Her dad never wants them to be too comfortable and to always pursue excellence whether it be on the court or in anything they did.
But as fate would have it, Gabi made it big in basketball following her dad’s legacy. She played with the University of Buffalo in New York and Sacramento State, then had a stint in the Cyprus Women’s Basketball Division A for ENAD in Ayios Dometias, Nicosia.
Her most recent stint was extremely special as she played for Gilas Pilipinas Women at the 31st Southeast Asian Games. In her SEA Games debut, she averaged 11.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.8 steals to help Gilas Women win back-to-back gold medals.
“He was in awe with all the hard work that I put through, and what the team put through,” Gabi said of her dad, who also won a SEA Games gold medal in 1993. Gabi. “He was even saying, ‘who would’ve thought that my daughter would play for the national team and win a gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games.’”
It was surreal for the father-daughter tandem that Gabi did not only get a chance to represent her country on the national team but also be the second one in her family to do so.
Gabi continues to follow her father’s legacy as she builds her own. She is always thankful for everything her father has done for her and says she is “forever grateful for him.”
Photo from The State Hornet