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EXCLUSIVE: Gretchen Ho, Dyan Castillejo, Boyet Sison, And More Talk About Their Best Kobe Memories

Every Black Mamba fan from the Philippines can give you a hundred and one reasons for why he was so special—we share some of them in this Metro.Style exclusive video tribute

When Kobe Bryant was laid to rest on February 7, three weeks after his death, the world wasn't ready to say goodbye just yet.

And even with a beautiful memorial service held on February 24 at the Staples Center in LA—the venue where Kobe became a worldwide sports phenomenon—that had his teammates, friends, and family share the most touching tributes with a global audience of millions, many are still reeling from the loss of a legend, including a handful of Filipino sports personalities. 

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No words can express this. I admit I’m not the die-hard Kobe fan. Many would’ve found him arrogant and selfish during his younger years. But after the first three-peat, he admits that he was humbled after the loss to Detroit in 2004 and to Boston in the 2008 NBA Finals, and evolved to being a better teammate and all around player, then won another two rings. Whether fan or not, he was our idol. He was the reason why we would go early in the court to work on what we needed to improve on, work out our jump shots, post moves, situationals to hit game winners like him. I hope that the current and future generation will appreciate what the Mamba has brought to this beautiful game. RIP MAMBA 🐍

A post shared by Migs Bustos (@migsbustos) on


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Ask any Filipino who claims to be a Kobe fan why he was so amazing—the answers will be varied and similar at the same time. They'll gladly tell you what he meant to them, or what his success symbolized in their paths to pursuing their own dreams, but a common theme will prevail: Kobe's humility, love for the game, passion for life itself, and overall commitment to being a role model for all is what they'll miss the most.

In a series of exclusive interviews, we sat down with some of the very Filipinos who were fortunate enough to meet the Black Mamba in the flesh and share a few words with him. 

ABS-CBN sports anchors and hosts Gretchen Ho, Dyan Castillejo, Migs Bustos, and Boyet Sison, as well as sports columnist Bill Velasco dig into their memories, big and small, sharing what it was they personally loved the most about the basketball player who became much more than a sports icon.

Dyan talks about a time when Kobe showed a deep appreciation of Filipino culture each and every time he visited the Philippines, Gretchen talked about how Kobe "humanized" basketball and adored his daughters, while Bill emphasized how Kobe's pure love for the game touched all Filipinos from every walk of life and Boyet laughed about that time Kobe asked him about the bow tie he was wearing. Migs, on the other hand, thanked him for inspiring us all with his signature Mamba Mentality. 

Watch the exclusive Metro.Style video tribute below:

Photos from @boyetjsison 

Video by Pat Buenaobra

Coordination by Miky Mirabueno

Interview by Angelica MontoroRenee Nuevo, and Marga Bautista

Shoot assistants: Cara TironaJill Bognot, and Zia Barretto

Makeup by Jessi Maghayup and Minha Guillermo; hairstyling by Raffy Prieto Francisco (Dyan)

Special thanks to Xyrene Eugenio and Francis Guintu