STEVE and EDZEL TUMANDAO: A Father-Son Love Built Up by Basketball

Written By: Zerjosh Serrano and Paul Tamayo

This is not your typical and perfect love story with sparkling background and unchained melodies. Nor your favorite primetime soap opera where you spend long hours crying in front of the television.

This is a story of a man who is more than willing to conquer anything for love. A man who can sacrifice anything, not as a man to a woman, but as a father to his son.

We often hear stories of single mothers nurturing her child alone and providing everything due to the absence and lack of support of the child’s father. But we rarely witness a man who stood his ground after his wife left him with a one-year-old child in his custody.

That’s exactly what Steve Tumandao had to overcome. Steve’s wife left him when their son, Edzel Tumandao, was still a child who can barely recognize his surroundings. But instead of sulking, he even used it as a motivation to nurture his son even better.


Indeed, despite of what happened, Steve saw this unfortunate event as a blessing rather than a curse.

For the record, we opted not to gather any sensitive information of what exactly happened as our respect to the privacy to Steve and his son, Edzel.

Besides, the father-and-son tandem of Steve and Edzel is glimmering with love and hope. That alone makes their family complete. No more, no less.

While everything was supposed to fall apart, Steve found every opportunity on how he and his son, Edzel, can become closer and have a normal life. From a father-and-son duo, they basically became best of friends who are always side by side.

Steve offered his son the best treasure a parent can give- love.

As a father who desires to prove his immeasurable love towards his son, Steve always makes sure that their father and son relationship will always be intimate.

Time is everything for Steve and Edzel. They always spend their precious time together doing things that they love- cycling and basketball.

Father and Son bonding.

Steve devoted his youth playing the game that he loves- basketball. Now that he already has a son, that passion never faded. Not even an inch. He even used this as a catalyst to become closer to his son.

“Lagi kami may bonding time. Since wala na yung mother niya, kaming dalawa talaga yung lagi magkasama. Pinaka-bonding namin ang basketball or biking. And nag-eenjoy din si Edzel,” Steve said.

“Nung maliit pa siya [Edzel], lagi ko siya sinasama pag may laro ako sa liga. Lagi sya nanonood at later on nakahiligan na din niya.” Steve added.

Thanks to his father’s great influence, Edzel developed his love towards basketball. Who would have thought that a kid from Las Piñas City would show interest to the sport that his father is very passionate about?

Now that Edzel is already nine years old and is starting to gather the puzzle pieces in achieving his dreams, basketball is his main goal.

The young Tumandao is actually dead serious about going pro in the future. He spends a lot of his time honing his skills, practicing every drill until he has no more sweat to drip.

Due to his unwavering dedication and eagerness to be great in this craft, Edzel even joined several training camps to further broaden his knowledge and abilities.

“Sumali po ako sa mga basketball camp. Ininvite po ako ng friend ko na sumali. Doon po naging start ko and sobrang nagustuhan ko.”

Edzel with Coaches at Alabang Training Camp.

From here on, Edzel started his road to greatness. At an early age of 7, he also received an invitation to enroll in one of the best sports clinics in Metro Manila, the Passion Sports.

Edzel was very focused in his goal, so without second thoughts, he and his father went to Alabang to enroll at Coach Rob Labagala’s very own Passion Sports. Without any surprises, Edzel fell in love with how coaches handle players and conduct trainings.

Now, Edzel is in the program for two years and there are no signs of slowing down. With the untiring and full-pledged support from his father, Edzel is finally seeing a glimpse of his dreams.

This opportunity made their relationship even stronger. Every time that Edzel has a game or training, Steve is more than willing to sacrifice even his sleep just to ensure that he will be there for his son.

As a single parent who usually works at night, it’s very challenging to manage the time in the broad daylight. But for Steve, the time to spend with his son is more than anything else.

“Na-invite kami ng father ni Jacob (Edzel’s friend) na mag-enroll sa Passion Sports. Gusto mag-try ni Edzel, so nagpunta kami sa Alabang para mag-enroll,” Steve said.

“Lagi ko siya sinasamahan sa mga training niya. Na-byahe pa kami minsan from Las Piñas to Navotas and minsan sa Valenzuela para sa training nya. Talagang tinututukan ko siya. Kahit madalas may duty ako sa gabi, kinabukasan uuwi ako 6AM then byahe agad kami kasi may training sya ng 8AM.”

Edzel playing at Tournament Season 5

A loving father, indeed. Steve will always be there to support his son. He even admitted that Edzel’s interest to enroll was actually mutual. For someone who grew without any formal basketball trainings, Steve was bent in paving a way for his son.

“Since bata pa lang si Edzel nahilig na sya mag-basketball. Gusto din niya talaga makaranas ng training camps. Kami noon hindi namin alam yung mga camp. So curious din ako i-enroll yung anak ko. Noon basta marunong ka lang maglaro, makakasali ka na sa liga pero ngayon marami na talagang mga camps.” Steve said.

Passion Sports undoubtedly became a huge piece in this relationship. Not only did Edzel learn basic basketball skills, but he can also spend a lot of time to even watch his father in the parents’ league established by the sports clinic.

“Maganda sa Passion Sports kasi tinuturo talaga nila from basics. Kaya si Edzel natututo din talaga. Saka may parents’ league din sila. So nakakalaro din ako and may mga nami-meet din ako.” Steve said.

But despite the enjoyment and satisfaction brought by basketball, we cannot change the fact that it will remain as a physical sport wherein injuries and contacts are very imminent. So, I can’t help but ask Steve if somewhere along the way, it flashed into his mind to convince Edzel to stop playing basketball.

And just like a proud lion to his cub, Steve confidently said no. As a father and as an enthusiast of the game himself, Steve knew exactly how things can get rough in basketball. Hard contacts are normal that might even result to bruises or even injuries.

But for Steve, these are all parts of the game and at the end of the day, the warriors who fought for the ball, will always end up sharing it.

“Hindi ko siya [Edzel] pinigilan kahit alam ko na pisikalan yung laro. Siyempre galing din naman ako dyan. Kasama sa laro yan. Gusto ko din siya matuto makipag-socialize at makipagkaibigan. Kasi sa court naman magkakalaban kayo pero pagkatapos naman ng laro, magkakaibigan kayo.” Steve said.

Now, Edzel continues his basketball journey, and Steve will always be there to provide support. Besides, Edzel really wants to become a successful PBA player one day. But if the wind will blow the sail the other way, this promising kid from the city of Las Piñas would like to become a doctor who is always willing to extend his hands for the needy.

For Steve, no matter which of the forked roads his son takes in the near future, he will always give his son his ultimate support.

“Kung ano gusto niya [Edzel], susuportahan ko siya. Yung basketball alam natin na habang bata at malakas pa. Pero yung pang matagalan talaga yung pag-aaral. Ang basketball stepping stone yan if mag-varsity siya at makatulong sa pag-aaral. Bonus na lang if mag-pro sya. Gusto ko pa din magtapos siya. Pero if ano maging gusto niya sa future, tutulungan at susuportahan ko siya.” Steve said.

As a single father, Steve has all the rights to curse the world. Being left alone to provide food in the table and take care of his son, Steve can easily give up. But he did not make any excuses, but rather he used the sport that he loves to even become a better father and a better person.

Most importantly, this love between a father and a son made stronger by basketball will never be broken.


As we closed our interview, Steve and Edzel shared with us their heartfelt messages for each other.

“My message kay Edzel ay sana lumaki maging magalang at may magandang asal. Kung ano natutunan sa basketball maging gabay sa paglaki niya. Umpisa lang yung basketball na natutunan. Kapag nakamit niya yung pangarap niya, yun ang winning shot. Yung mga karanansan ngayon na mahirap, ayun ang depensa.” Steve said.

“Thank you po daddy na inaalagaan mo ako kahit wala si mommy. Thank you rin po na sinasacrifice mo po yung tulog mo po kahit pang gabi ka po sa work at walang tulog. You’re the best dad ever!” Edzel said.

Father’s Day Celebration might be over. But for these two, each day is Father and Son’s Day.



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