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By Brian Yalung
One player on the BaliPure Purest Water Defenders side who caught the eye of many was Graze Bombita. The pride of Iriga City surprised many with her explosive performances during the 2021 PVL Open Conference.
However, only a select few probably know about the struggles of the 30-year-old outside/opposite hitter. Graze lost her dad in March, minutes after she appeared on Sports Bytes PH.
It was an unfortunate development, especially considering that her dad (Natividad Francia Bombita, Jr.) was also watching that live interview which also had BaliPure team manager Gil Cortez, head coach Rommel Abella and opposite hitter Gyra Barroga present.
But even before the interview, Graze admits that she felt something odd about her father.
“Andami niyang bilin like… sab nga niya sobra siyang proud sa akin. Sobrang proud siya, paulit-ulit niya sinasabi yon. Tapos, I love you siya ng I love you anak. Ikaw na magadala ng apelyido natin. Tapos sabi niya pa nga, manonood pa siya sabi niya. Aabangan niya daw,” Graze said in an exclusive interview with this writer.
The 30-year-old remembers the last time she talked to her father. Everything was on lockdown at that time and she asked her dad if she could ask for some assistance.
“Nung araw na yun na intake na siya, sabi ko ‘Pa’ kumusta ka ganyan. Naguusap pa kami. Sabi ko nga, ‘Pa’ baka pede mo ako pahiramin ng ano dyan kasi mag lo lockdown. Sabi niya sige, sige papadalhan kita,” Grace recalled.
Unknown to her, it would be the last time she talked to her dad.
“Nangyari kasi kay papa, bigla na lang siya nanghina. Natulog lang, pumikit. Pumikit lang siya,” she shared.
It was a heartbreaking development for Graze who admits that her dad was very protective of her. Although they were not a well-off family, she narrated how they weathered adversity and went through dark times.
“Di naman kami kasi talaga mayaman. Sa kanilang magkakapatid, si papa kasi and di nakapagtapos. Andaming pinagdaaanan ng family namin. Umabot pa sa puntong sasabihan ka ng pamilya mo na di ako makakapagtapos ng pag-aaral, parang wala ako mararating kasi laro ako ng laro. Which is hindi naman nila naiintindihan kung para san yung paglalaro ko. Kinaya ko lahat yun. Thankful din ako kasi kahit ganon, natuto ako lumaban, lumaban ako,” Graze said.
Regardless of the struggles that she and her family went through, these are words from her late dad that she will always take by heart.
“Kahit san ka makarating, be humble. Wag mo isipin na nakaka-angat ka sa iba. Never mo isipin yon. Be grateful sa mga bagay na dumadating sa buhay mo. Magpasalamat ka sa mga taong tumutulong sayo and respeto sa kasama kahit sino yan. Yun ang mga values na tinuro sa akin ng tatay ko…na magpakumbaba. Yung ang bagay na hindi mabibili sa atin,” Graze stated.
Graze admits that her dad is a source of power and inspiration, a reason why she tries to focus even if it is very hard.
“Sa totoo lang, hindi ko iniisip na patay na yung papa ko. Kasi ang hirap. Tatlo ang dahilan kung bakit naglalaro pa ako hanggang ngayon. No. 1 siya. Mahirap na wala na yung taong nagbibigay lakas sa akin. No. 1 fan ko kasi papa ko,” Graze explained.
Graze was undoubtedly one of the bright spots for the BaliPure Purest Water Defenders despite their exit.
This was just one part of the lengthy interview with Graze Bombita done on April 2021. Stay tuned.