Memories from Col. Malonso
Memories from Col. Malonso
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson () - March 2, 2008 - 12:00am

In the history of Philippine sports, there isn’t anyone who can claim the authority that Col. Julian Malonso has to speak as an athlete, executive, leader, chronicler and fan.

Col. Malonso’s passion for sports is unparalleled. He’s now 84 years old and his experience in sports translates into a vast treasure of anecdotes, exciting storylines and insights.

Through the years, Col. Malonso’s love affair with sports has endured. While wife Honorata will always be the true love of his life, sports comes as a close second.

I have known Col. Malonso for years and I am blessed to be considered his friend. But more than a friend, I am his biggest fan. I draw inspiration from him, learn from his wisdom and enjoy our long conversations, sometimes tying up the phone for hours.

Col. Malonso’s memory is phenomenal and I often wonder how he is able to store so much data in his mind, recalling incidents of years past almost in a snap of the fingers. He is a rich source of information and the ultimate human search engine.

Col. Malonso is also a family friend. He played on the unbeaten UAAP champion University of Santo Tomas seniors basketball team with my father-in-law, Dr. Jose Genato, in 1946. To this day, he keeps in touch with Dr. Genato and his wife Carmencita.

When I tried to dig up my father Gregorio’s playing history with the Letran basketball team, it was Col. Malonso who came to the rescue. He pointed me to the Letran librarian who found a picture of my father in his playing uniform in a pre-war campus publication. And when I hit a dead end in researching about the Letran-San Beda rivalry in the NCAA for a Star article, it was again Col. Malonso who cleared the way for me to recover vital information.

So that when my wife Menchu and I were invited by Col. Malonso to attend his golden wedding anniversary celebration at the Club Filipino a few years ago, we were greatly honored. It was an event we couldn’t miss for the world.

More than anything, Col. Malonso is a man of principles. That is what is most admired about him. As a player, as a Philippine Olympic Committee president and as a professor, Col. Malonso was a bastion of integrity. He has never compromised – and never will – his Christian values. He will always stand for what he believes is right and defend his position, no matter the odds, no matter whom he goes against.

You may not agree with some of Col. Malonso’s beliefs but he makes you at least listen to his side because of your respect for his impartiality.

Col. Malonso is a straight-shooter. He minces no words in telling it like it is, even as the truth hurts. That’s what makes him such a credible opinion-maker. When you ask for his take on a particular issue, he doesn’t beat around the bush. With a clear conscience, he lashes out at his pet peeve – politicians who lord it over sports like their domain – and points the finger at callous sports officials who hang on to their positions for dear life despite a track record as non-performing, so-called assets.

Col. Malonso detests corruption, politicking, intrigue and double-talk. It’s in his nature to speak out openly against those who peddle influence, exploit athletes and use sports for self-aggrandizement.

Col. Malonso also likes to gossip. He has a network of informants who keep him glued to the grapevine. He would’ve made an excellent reporter because there isn’t a piece of juicy news that escapes his ears. Whatever information he receives, he generously shares with others. He’s like a walking newspaper, almanac and encyclopedia. Col. Malonso never runs out of things to say.

When I found out that Col. Malonso is writing a book of his memoirs, I told myself it couldn’t be more timely because now, more than ever, Philippine sports needs a shot in the arm, a wake-up call and a loyalty check. To read in a book what Col. Malonso has learned, witnessed and experienced in a life-long adventure in sports is to recall the history of Philippine sports. No doubt, every milestone in the annals of Philippine sports is given due attention in Col. Malonso’s memoirs. What’s more, only he can write it in a style that reflects his colorful personality and sense of humor. He is witty, funny, catty, frank and straight to the point.

“The Malonso Memoirs” is a fitting tribute to the man who is the embodiment of Philippine sports and deserves a special place in any library.

There will never be anyone quite like Col. Malonso. His book is a perfect reminder that Philippine sports is worth fighting for. Watch for announcements on when and where the book will be available in stores.

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with