It was only two and a half weeks ago when Coach Dante Silverio, while hosting the 70th birthday party of 4x PBA MVP Ramon Fernandez and the homecoming of PBA 25 Greatest, Francis Arnaiz, promised to hold more gatherings at his Makati al-fresco bar and gallery located along Pasong Tamo Extension.
Silverio, the PBA’s first champion coach, was true to his word. Celebrating his 86th birthday on October 17, the man fondly called “Osbok” by his players, brought in his family, relatives, close friends, colleagues in the art gallery business, and his Toyota players to a grand revelry last Monday night. His wife, Belen, children Jojo, Chi Chi and Kitkat and grandchildren, were all there to commemorate Silverio’s natal day.
Silverio’s loyal staff made sure that no stone was left unturned in making this bash special. They brought in a popular live band known for its music from the 50’s to the 80’s. They brought the house down, performing various dance tracks that kept the dance floor busy.
The program officially started around 6:30PM with no less than PBA lead anchor and “An Eternity of Basketball” host Charlie Cuna as the emcee. Toyota forward Emerito Legaspi led the prayers, asking for continued blessings to the celebrant while also offering a short prayer for the health recovery of teammate, Robert Jaworski, Sr.
Cuna then called on the family to formally welcome the guests. It was Jojo who spoke on behalf of Silverio’s children. Jojo, a former race car champion himself, marveled at his dad’s good health and how he has remained in good shape over the years. He also thanked everyone who attended, particularly the family and Silverio’s close friends and colleagues.
Arnaiz represented his Toyota teammates in formally greeting Silverio. Arnaiz recalled how 50 years ago, at a young age of 21, he was taken in by Silverio to become part of his pioneer team, the Komatsu Comets, that won the MICAA championship in 1973. He paid tribute to Silverio for “being gracious, taking me under his wing, and even up to today, taking care of everyone.” Arnaiz honored his mentor by citing him as “an example of how life should be lived by having a heart that’s pure, loving and giving.”
A 10-minute video was then shown, courtesy of the An Eternity of Basketball team, showing various photos of Silverio as a race car champion to becoming a basketball team manager and coach and as an artist and party host. Video greetings from past Toyota players Rino Salazar, Ricky Relosa and Tim Coloso as well as former Shell executive Freddie Motos were included in the video presentation.
Granddaughter Sylvia was then called to introduce her grandfather and she dotingly showed her love, describing her “lolo” as someone who she tries hard to emulate.
Silverio finally went up the stage and thanked everyone who came to his party, giving special attention to his wife, Belen and children who were complete. Silverio described this as a momentous occasion, given that this was one of the few times that his family was complete to celebrate his birthday. He also showed his affection to his grandson whom he called on stage and introduced him to the guests.
From there, 1976 PBA Rookie of the Year Gil Cortez offered along with the family, a birthday cake with candles for Silverio to blow. Five Toyota pioneers from 1973 – Edward Camus, Ompong Segura, Joseph Galonga, Ulysses Rodriguez and Arnaiz then offered a celebratory toast, wishing the amiable coach for continuous good health.
Silverio then called everyone to join him for a sumptuous dinner courtesy of Alex III while the band provided some jazz and soul music in the background. The party then ratcheted tenfold when the band started playing dance tracks like “I Love the Nightlife,” “Dancing Queen,” “I’m So Excited” and “Rhythm of the Night,” displaying their innate versatility. Ricky Jacinto, another good friend of Silverio, also performed “Let Me Try Again” and “Portrait of My Love.” Another celebrity singer, Anthony Castelo, coming from an illness and nursing a bad cough with a raspy throat, swooned the ladies with a few lines from his hit song, “Balatkayo.” He later joined Jacinto and Silverio, singing Frank Sinatra’s “That’s Life” to the delight of everyone.
The party may have happened on the eve of Silverio’s actual birthday but it was a perfect way to welcome this special day. “Osbok” continued to serenade his guests up to the late hours, performing his favorite classics.
It was truly a night to remember.
Happy Birthday, Coach Dante!