National Basketball Association (NBA) team the San Antonio Spurs just gave their Filipino fans one more reason to love them.
Yesterday the Spurs honored Filipino Liban Brillantes, who served as a soldier for the United States Army during World War II. The 103-year-old veteran was feted at the AT&T Center in San Antonio as part of the Spurs’ Military Appreciation Night.
Brillantes, a resident of San Antonio, started his military career at the age of 19 working as a messenger between the U.S. and the Philippine government.
According to his introduction, he was able to gain the trust of the Japanese forces who invaded the Philippines and would send them in the opposite direction of the American soldiers, thereby giving the latter an advantage.
Watch his tribute below and see his family members get all teary-eyed as they look at his own jersey, which sports the number “103.”
The heartfelt gesture excited Brillantes way before the actual ceremony, according to the San Antonio-Express News. His granddaughter Precious Joy Ross told the newspaper that he kept asking like a child about the event.
“When he heard it, he said, ‘When are we going?! When are we going?!’”
Brillantes is originally from Nangas-asan in Abra province. He moved to the U.S. at the age of 85 and became a citizen seven years after. He often travels around the U.S. and has even traveled to Canada and England on his own.
Netizens were equally touched by what the NBA team has done for Brillantes. One man thanked the team for honoring him.
Another called the Spurs a classy team for what they did for Brillantes.
As expected, someone quipped that he was proud to be Pinoy.
Thank you for your service Mr. Brillantes, and congratulations on having your own Spurs jersey.
Now excuse us as we dry our tears.