DECEMBER 3, 2006
(STAR) SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson - It wasnít love at first sight for newly-weds Talk ĎNí Text star forward Don Allado and actress Maricar de Mesa who tied the knot in a beautiful ceremony at the Our Lady of Consolation Parish Church in Quezon City last Friday night.

They met during the Goma Cup in Baguio City four years ago and were introduced by Alladoís godfather Freddie Mendoza.

Allado said he wasnít immediately smitten. "Her hair was like puffy and all over the place and she wore a lot of makeup," recalled Allado. "But she looked good. I got her cell number and we started texting. Our first date wasnít a real date because she came with chaperones and I was with a group of friends."

Maricarís first impression on the 6-5 player (she is 5-2) was "heís not my type." Persistence, however, paid off for Allado. "He was persistent but not annoying," she conceded. "As I got to know him more, I found out who the real Don is, ang kanyang pagkatao. Thatís when I realized how much I really love him."

Allado popped the question on his knees at the Old Manila restaurant in the Manila Peninsula Hotel last March.

"He asked me to close my eyes because he had a surprise," said Maricar. "I thought it was chocolates. When I opened my eyes, he was on his knees, held out a box with an engagement ring and asked me to marry him."

* * *

Fr. Armand Tangi celebrated the wedding Mass which started a little past 7 p.m.

The no-shows among the principal sponsors were Sen. Lito Lapid and Rep. Rodito Albano.

Philippine Long Distance Tel. Co. chairman Manny Pangilinan and Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, both principal sponsors, were seen talking to each other. Someone said they agreed to meet "soonest" to resolve the lingering leadership crisis plaguing Philippine basketball.

Sen. Estrada was unable to attend the reception at the Grand Terrace on Commonwealth Avenue because of a previous commitment to host a dinner for San Juan Vice-Mayor Philip Cezar.

Groomsman Ali Peek arrived late at the church, holding hands with STAR columnist Ana Kalaw. He rushed from playing a game for Coca-Cola at the Araneta Coliseum.

Seated on the same pew were Alladoís teammate Jimmy Alapag, girlfriend L. J. Moreno and actress Rufa Mae Quinto who wore a fetching long gown. Rufa left after receiving Holy Communion and didnít appear at the reception.

* * *

The entire Talk ĎNí Text team came to celebrate the wedding. Donbel Belano was the only one in the entire party to wear a tux, complete with bowtie, prompting someone to jokingly say, "wow, finally, he looks human." His hair was combed back and Belano looked absolutely dapper.

Showing up without partners were Mac-Mac Cardona, Ren-Ren Ritualo, Mark Andaya and Asi Taulava. Other Phone Pals in attendance were Vic Pablo, Harvey Carey, Jay Washington, Alapag and Patrick Fran. Coach Derick Pumaren and assistant Bong Ramos came with their wives. PBA chairman Ricky Vargas sat with the players.

The team flew in from Tacloban on an 11:45 a.m. flight that morning. The original schedule was to leave at 6:55 a.m. but the flight was cancelled due to inclement weather. The Phone Palsí 12 noon practice was cancelled as a result.

Players from rival teams who joined in the merry-making included Peek, John Arigo, Brandon Cablay, Mark Telan and Migs Noble.

Alladoís La Salle teammates Dino Aldeguer, Dominic Uy, Alvin Castro, Mon Jose and Francis Zamora were there, too.

In the reception program, Uy was in the spotlight with Alladoís best friend Jason Kusher (who went AWOL from his job in Los Angeles to plane in for the wedding) as the two finalists of seven picked at random to vie for Ara Minaís charms.

Ara sportingly agreed to be blindfolded and chose two finalists by feeling their hands. She picked Uy for being "lalaking-lalaki" and Kusher for being "masculado." Then, Ara was asked to kiss both on the cheek. Finally, she gave her nod to Uy whose reward was inching a garter strap up Araís leg as the guests howled.

* * *

Maricarís father Nelson spoke in behalf of the brideís family and described Allado as "respectful, responsible and level-headed."

Alladoís father Loy welcomed Maricar to the family and said now, the two belonged to each other for life. His mother Joy shared the momentous evening with Maryknoll classmates Tonette Fritzsche (who flew in from Cebu with her 6-4, 18-year-old Fil-Swedish son Jonathan), June Torrejon Rufino (Maricarís talent manager), Mariles Aguado and Menchu Henson (my wife).

Alladoís younger brother Andrew choked on his words as he spoke on the microphone.

"When Don left the US to live in Manila, I really missed him and looked forward to when he would visit during his breaks," said Andrew who flew back to Los Angeles yesterday to catch up with his school schedule. "Now, Iím just so happy to see him so happy with Maricar. Thatís all that matters to me ó Don is happy."

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved