Bill Velasco – The Philippine Star
September 18, 2021 | 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines — A strong tree produces strong fruit. Retired pro basketball player Chris Bade’s daughters are making waves in different sports. Twenty-five-year-old former Gilas Pilipinas women’s combo guard Gabi has just signed to play for ENAD WBC in Cyprus. His other daughter Lee is now 4-0 as an amateur MMA fighter. Chris played forward in both the PBA and the Metropolitan Basketball Association. He now lives in Milpitas, California.
“The plan was always to come here (the US) after my playing career,” said Bade, a forward for the San Sebastian Stags who suited up for Shell in the PBA in 1994 before going to the MBA’s Socsargen Marlins. “My parents have been here since the 1980’s. I was always going to find a job and spend time with them.”
Bade, a finance officer for Santa Clara County, was watching old videos of his games when Gabi, then five, showed an interest in the sport. With his coaching, her aptitude rapidly grew, until at age 10, she already understood the game better than her father did at 18. His involvement also helped her AAU teams improve, as he helped tailor their systems around the talent they had.
“When you’re Asian here, they look down on you,” said Chris, who played for the Philippines in the 1993 SEA Games in Singapore. “You’re not tall enough, long enough, athletic enough. But I told Gabi, if she understands the game better, she’ll last longer. Now, all those bigger stronger players are no longer around.”
The 5’8” Gabi played for Sacramento State and the Philippine national team, and has always dreamed of making it to the WNBA.
“She is a fierce competitor who is capable of making her teammates better with her passing. Gabi is able to read pressure and able to dish. She is also a knock-down shooter and can pull it anywhere from the arc. A strong guard, she can attack off the dribble and is able to take contact. She can also find creative ways to finish,” reported Flash Agency, which got her the stint in Europe.
Chris says that, while he and the family are still preparing to follow Gabi to Cyprus, they have gotten the support of the Filipino community there, who have promised to take care of their daughter and cheer her on.