Semerad versus Semerad
As soon as the final buzzer sounded, two players wearing different uniforms but bearing a striking resemblance to each other embraced playfully as they left the Smart Araneta Coliseum floor last Wednesday night.
This show of brotherly affection is nothing new for Filipino-Australian twins David and Anthony Semerad, who were both on the floor in the waning seconds of TNT KaTropa’s series-tying 102-97 win over the San Miguel Beermen.
But considering the fact that they’re playing for teams looking to extend their winning tradition in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, the gesture is a welcome sidebar to what has been a highly physical series between the flagship teams of the San Miguel Corp. conglomerate and the group controlled by tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan.
“Whatever is on the court, we leave it there,” says David. “Off the court, we’re family.”
When TNT and San Miguel arranged the championship duel, the 26-year-old Anthony and David also made history in the 42-year-old league by becoming the first twins to go up against each other at this stage of the tournament.
Parents cheering their sons
But if their parents, Roman and Evelyn, had it their way, they’d rather see their sons playing in one team, like when they were kids growing up in Brisbane up until their college days at San Beda, which the 6-foot-4 twins helped to four NCAA senior championships.
“They’re cheering for us now, but growing up, our parents wouldn’t allow us to play against each other,” David says.
Anthony says they started playing basketball together in the third grade: “We were on every team together. We were so strong together that some people wanted us to be on different teams to make [the tournament] competitive. But our parents didn’t want that to happen, so they’d tell us to just keep the game close and win it in the end.”
Before joining San Beda, Anthony estimates they were part of 15 champion teams at the age-group level in Australia.
“Their work ethic makes them special players,” says Boyet Fernandez, who coached the twins at San Beda for two seasons. “They’re very competitive, they’re both winners. At the same time, they’re very protective of each other. I’m happy for both of them and for what they’ve achieved [in their careers].”
Change in lifestyle
When Anthony was drafted by GlobalPort and David was selected by Barako Bull in the PBA three years ago, the twins braced themselves for a drastic change in lifestyle.
“We were in different teams, so we had different schedules,” says Anthony, who, like David, also earned a Business Marketing degree at San Beda.
That same year, the twins also decided to live separately.
Anthony describes the feeling as similar to breaking up with a girlfriend. “We’ve always done things together,” says Anthony. “David cooks for me and I cook for him and we do the laundry together. But it kind of worked out in the end.”
Known more for his defense, David has gone on to win four titles with San Miguel. Anthony, a sweet-shooting forward, is still in search of a first crown in the pro league. “I knew his (Anthony’s) time was going to come,” says David. “I’m blessed to have four championships and I’m happy that Anthony is here to experience the finals.”
Because they look after each other, Anthony says David gives him a small piece of the championship bonuses he gets, so “it sorts of levels things out.”
The series has not changed the way the twins go about their days together. They still go out to dinner after the games, work out together and play one-on-one matches. Just don’t ask any of them to reveal his team’s gameplan in these finals.
“I asked him one time and he said, ‘Sorry mate, I can’t tell you,’” says Anthony. “He tried to ask me and I told him the same thing.”
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