HANOI— national golf team first-timer Gab Manotok was raised by his parents in a way that went beyond the traditional way.
He was not fed formula milk – not even a drop – and lived on an organic vegetable diet until he was a teenager. He didn’t go to the big school that most of his friends went to.
There was a family tradition, however, that should have been followed: golf.
With both parents being considered family names in Philippine golf, Gabe had to lead a golfing life, a large part of which he spent at the Kalatagan Golf Club while his father, Tommy, worked as a general manager for several years.
Tommy, one of the best amateurs of all time in the country, can make a list of local golfing legends even if he has never been a professional. Gabe’s mother, former Yvette de Leon, had a short-lived amateur career that was equipped with great success, such as the Philippine Ladies Open and yes, even a Southeast Asian Games gold medal win.
Yvette was part of the trio who won the first golf gold medal for the Philippines in Indonesia 33 years ago. She was on the team with Sylvia Torres and Ruby Chico, who will also win individual events.
And just for that, Yewett and Gabe could make history as the first mother and son to play on the national golf team, and the SEA Games in that regard.
“We’ve always been close as a family, so my support system is very strong,” said Gabe, a graduate of the University of San Francisco with a degree in communication arts from the Academy of Arts.
That support system includes five half-siblings, including Matthew, a former PH team founder who has just been re-elected governor of Ilocos Norte.
“We still play golf. If we have time, they come to our Alabang home to hang out just once.”
Gabe thinks he has to work on some things in his game before he can become a professional, if he ever becomes Tommy’s first son and graduates from an amateur position.
But with very supportive parents who have been with him since he first took over a golf club when he was five years old, Gab knows that there are many opportunities to help him gauge the success he has achieved through his passion. Golf.
In a word, the fruit does not fall from the tree too much.
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