DONALDO is his first name and Dondon is his nickname but we call him by the moniker “Cebuano Hotshot.” He studied in Don Bosco, USJ-R and as a college heartthrob at the University of Cebu. When the Cebu Gems was formed in 1998, he stood as the shining gem.
From the MBA, he hopped to the PBA, playing 17 quality years with Alaska, Petron, Tanduay, Air21 and San Miguel. Among his achievements include being ranked fourth in the list of most 3-point shots made in PBA history, behind Jimmy Alapag, Allan Caidic and Ronnie Magsanoc. He also netted three PBA championships, one with the Aces and two with the Beermen.
In a list of superstars who played in Cebu that include Abet, June Mar, Jojo, Ramon, JR, Aldrech, Greg and Arnie, the name “Dondon” is, on a first-name basis, recognized.
Last year, Dondon Hontiveros played a different game. He dribbled into politics, shooting for a slot as Cebu City councilor. Long accustomed to being a top-scorer, Dondon was the highest pointer among the 16 elected councilors, garnering over 161,00 votes. The tallest stood tallest.
“Basketball is a team game and each player has a role to play,” he told me a few days ago. “But it’s your attitude that helps when facing a challenge. In a game, it’s not guaranteed that you’ll win but when you put in the work, you give yourself a chance.”
The 43-year-old Hontiveros has a different role to play these days, given the Covid-19 pandemic. A few months back, he was inside the Cebu Coliseum — the same arena where he’s spent hundreds of hours assisting and playing basketball — but this time, he was assisting with the relief goods distribution, playing leader as the City helped prepare food kits.
“When I was in-charge of the repacking,” he said, “I was able to get a workout every day because, with the help of my coaches, we helped carry the boxes of canned goods. I also tried to bring the team some energy.”
Hon. Hontiveros is busy these days, going out almost daily to help with the Normal Oasis for Adaptation and a Home (Noah) Complex.
“I am the logistics coordinator at Noah under Atty. Joy Pesquera. Our quarantine facility at the SRP was able to discharge over 306 asymptomatic clients. Currently, we have over 270 at the facility,” he said.
When I asked for advice to his fellow Cebuanos, he had these “positive” words: “Use your energy to make a positive impact. It might be lending a hand, encouraging a person going through a difficult time or saying a prayer. You rise by lifting others. You find fulfillment when you are able to help. We can a make a difference bisag unsa pa na kagamay. It doesn’t matter who gets the credit, what matters is we make a conscious effort to help.”
Finally, I couldn’t end my interview without asking him one thing.
“I am excited with the return of the NBA,” he said. “I was cheering for Kawhi (Leonard) when he was still with the Spurs and Raptors. But LeBron has been amazing, as well as Giannis. My pick: any of the L.A. teams and the Bucks.”