This 76-Year-Old Dragged His Son Along to Watch the VNL 2024

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ALL-STAR’s team was walking around the SM Mall of Asia Arena when we sighted an interesting pair of men. The younger one was wearing the Filipinas football Jersey with the number 16 printed on the front. His name is Ramon De Guzman. His companion, the older man, was wearing a simple maroon polo shirt that had what looked like a logo of “Batch Marangal,” the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1974. His name is James De Guzman. 

James De Guzman is 76 years old and is a huge fan of volleyball. He’s never played the game in his life, but he religiously watches volleyball games on TV, whether it’s the UAAP, PVL, or any league where Team U.S.A. is playing. He loves Team America. 

Ramon and James De Guzman
Ramon (Left) and James De Guzman at the VNL 2024. Photo: Mario Alvaro V. Limos

“My dad wanted to watch the VNL,” said Ramon, his 33-year-old son who purchased their chance tickets at SM Aura. 

“My dad wanted to watch the VNL, even the womens. He wanted to watch the USA team. We managed to get tickets yesterday, so today, we decided to spend the day together and watch the VNL. We caught Germany vs France earlier today, and now we’re waiting for the USA vs Iran,” said Ramon.

“He even watches the women’s volleyball games. But he really wanted to watch the U.S.A. team today. When we were at SM Aura, we tried our luck to get tickets in the lower box. There were two seats left in the lower box! We immediately bought it,” added Ramon. 

James, the father, was beaming. 

“I always want to watch the U.S.A. team, especially their women’s team, they are really good,” said the 76-year old James. 

“Kapag sa men’s kasi, puro hatawan lang. (“In men’s volleyball games, they just hit the ball really hard.”) In the women’s, the plays are more interesting to watch and more dynamic,” he added. 

“Have you always been a fan of volleyball?” we asked the older De Guzman. 

“Oh yes,” said James.

“Mas fan ng volleyball yung dad ko kaysa sa akin!” (My dad is a bigger volleyball fan than me!”), said Ramon. 

“Nagugulat nga yung mga kaibigan niya na mas malakas pa ako mag cheer sa volleyball!” added James.

Both father and son laughed at themselves. 

But what brought the pair to the VNL 2024? 

“I just want to watch the game,” said James. 

“I always watch volleyball on TV. In the local scene, I watch UAAP, and NU is quite strong. Ateneo lost in the fight, so now I am rooting for NU,” he added. 

“Are you hoping to meet anybody here? Maybe a player?” 

“Nobody in particular. I’m just a fan of the sport,” said James. 

And how does he find the VNL so far, as a first-timer in the live audience? 

“It’s very exciting.”

Team U.S.A. lost to Iran that night. We immediately thought of James, the biggest fan of Team America at the VNL. 

“He’ll be alright,” we said. “He’s bonding with his son, after all.”

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