Ordonio prepares son of Gilas
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (Associated Press) - September 16, 2015 - 10:00am

Six-year PBA veteran Jon Ordonio said the other day he’s working on the Filipino citizenship papers of his two sons Kobe, 16, and Tahjae, 14, so that they may be eligible as locals for the Gilas Cadets program. But since the sons were born in Makati when Ordonio was a PBA player, they’re exempted from the rule of obtaining the passport of the country they plan to represent in FIBA competitions before turning 16. However, they must be cleared as dual citizens with the appropriate travel documents.

Ordonio, 38, played for Barangay Ginebra, Alaska and Red Bull from 1999 to 2004, averaging 3.4 points in 171 games. In November 2004, he was given three days to leave the country after being listed as one of eight suspected Fil-Shams who played in the PBA. Several of the eight were later cleared to be of Filipino descent and continued to play in the local league. Probably because he was a marginal player, Ordonio had no backer to establish his Filipino roots and was cruelly ushered out of the country.

The irony of it all was Ordonio had concrete basis of his Filipino heritage. His mother Corazon’s father was from La Union. He never got the chance to prove his descent. Ordonio left with his two sons but his wife Jacquie decided to stay in Manila. Ordonio and Jacquie were eventually divorced. Jacquie lived in Manila for six to seven months then moved to San Diego. Ordonio settled in Monterrey and was later reacquainted with an old high school friend Taryn. In 2007, Ordonio and Taryn got married.

At the moment, Ordonio and his wife work at the Community Hospital of the Monterrey Peninsula. He is a patient transporter while she is a unit receptionist in the Wound Care Department. Their family has grown. Taryn’s son from a previous relationship DeSean is now 19 and he, too, has Filipino roots. Kobe is now 5-11 and wears a size 12 shoe. Tahjae is a freshman at Monterrey High and is 5-10. Like his brother Kobe, he wears a size 12 shoe. Both are promising basketball stars. Ordonio and Taryn have a son Dekota, 7, a second grade student.

“Life has been full of ups and downs,” said Ordonio in an email to The Star. “But we’ve been able to battle the storms that have come our way. Our kids keep us going and busy yet Taryn and I make time for each. We try to have a date night once a week. The kids are getting older. My buddy Alvin Castro (another former Fil-Am PBA player) is always in my ear about La Salle should the kids consider playing college basketball in the Philippines.”

Ordonio is obviously a family man. He not only plays father to his sons but also is their coach on the court. In fact, they recently played together in winning the third annual Fil-Am tournament in Central California. Ordonio was the playing coach. “DeSean played well and was our Ron Artest,” he said. “My job was to guard the big guys, rebound and control the game. Kobe was the assassin out there, hitting shots from everywhere. He knocked down two clutch three-pointers in the last three minutes of the game. It was fun to play with my kids. Another highlight in my chapter of life.”

Ordonio said his youngest son Dekota will likely end up outplaying his older brothers but that’s not downplaying anyone. “Tahjae is very good and plays exactly like Klay Thompson,” he said. “Tahjae will be on the junior varsity as a freshman and I will go back to coaching, more like assistant coaching right now because of the hours of my job. Kobe and Tahjae played AAU basketball together. Kobe was No. 30 and Tahjae No. 11 just like Steph Curry and Klay. Very exciting to watch. Kobe averaged over 30 points and six assists during the summer. At the big AAU tournament in Reno on Memorial Weekend in the U16 division, they played a team called the Bay Area Generals and Kobe had 44 points, including nine three-pointers. The other team kept calling him Steph. He plays like him, can shoot from anywhere, has great court vision and dribbles out of this world.”

Ordonio said Kobe averaged 21 points, five rebounds and five assists on the JV team as a freshman and shot a season-high 32. He was named MVP of the team, the first freshman to be honored in years. As a sophomore, he started for the varsity and hit at a 15 point clip. He was second on the team in rebounding and was named to the All-Carmel Invitational Tournament selection after averaging 22 points. In a game against rival Seaside High, Kobe erupted for 34 points and shot six threes. Kobe was voted Sophomore of the Year and was chosen to the All Country selection by two newspapers The Californian and The Monterrey Herald.

This past summer, Ordonio said Kobe was outstanding in a Los Angeles showcase. “College coaches and scouts separated him from the other 99 kids because of his fundamentals and the way he scored, assisted, passed, dribbled and played defense,” said Ordonio. “Kobe’s been making noise in California. It was his first time playing travel ball all summer and it was a blessing. A friend of mine Marvin Quebec has been in contact trying to get Kobe and Tahjae their Philippine passports so they can get the opportunity to play on the national team some day. They were both born in Medical City.”

Ordonio said his mother died of complications from lung cancer last year. “My mom’s passing away took a toll on me and the family because she was a huge part of my life,” he said. “She moved in with us and was living with us for a year before her passing. Every since then, my father-in-law Steve has taken over and has been huge for us. He helps out with the kids, picks them up, drops them off, watches over them. My sister-in-law Shana has also made an impact on our lives. My father died in 2011 and my uncle Larry, who lived in Hawaii, passed away months before my mother. Through all of this, I learned that nothing is more important than family.”


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