Charlie Dy is a mainstay in Philippine basketball, having coached and managed many prolific players for over 30 years. He co-owns basketball team Alab Pilipinas and sports agency firm Virtual Playground. This is an impressive feat for someone who never thought he’d be actively investing in the basketball world in the first place, after struggling with career choices as a young student. Never did he expect that a simple hobby would become his “destiny.”
AN UNEXPECTED PATH
Dy describes his mainland Chinese father as a workaholic, hence his dad was busy even on the weekends. Growing up, Dy had two previous career ambitions: becoming a doctor because he wanted to wear white, and taking up Architecture in college after years of practicing drawing since his youth. “I think I [was] good at drawing in high school. I won in competitions in school, and my classmates would ask me to do some projects for them,” he fondly remembers, so his parents thought it would be best for him to take up Architecture in the University of Santo Tomas. He was unsatisfied with the course, so he shifted to Commerce, but another path he’d take up in UST would lead him to the career he’d fully pursue today.
He played a lot of basketball growing up, and he became friends with a lot of basketball players in UST. The players asked their coach at the time – the late, great Aric del Rosario – if they could recruit Dy as his assistant coach, and he accepted. This led to a long, sixteen years of coaching the basketball teams by Dy – eight years as an assistant coach and another eight as head coach.
“IT WAS MY DESTINY”
“Basketball was not even one of my dreams, but I felt it was my destiny. I never dreamt of it, [and] it just happened,” he admitted. He was fully immersed in his job surrounding it and put his full dedication into being part of that world. He never missed a practice, even when he fell ill.
“Since I didn’t grow to become six feet, dreaming of becoming a player was far-fetched,” Dy remarked, “and coming from a Chinese family, I know they won’t allow me also, so for them I had to learn how to do business. But that was never what I wanted to do, so I never followed them.” He was never into business due to what he thinks is his “soft heart” and often was in disagreement with his parents, which he acknowledged was due to a generational gap. “I just have to make them understand what our generation is to them,” he says. He knew his parents were not fully accepting of his basketball career, and he even had to persuade them to let him accept an invite to the University of Hawaii to go.
HELP ME, HELP YOU
After his coaching life, he decided to become an active sports agent in 2002, starting with Chris Calaguio. “As a sports agent, I handle the contract negotiations, I tried to get my players endorsements [and] projects, because at the end of the day, it’s a career for them, so you have to get them all the possibilities [and] projects they can get into to make more money,” he explains. With the large number of significant basketball players he handled, he was dubbed the “Jerry Maguire of the Philippines” by the media, but for Dy, “it’s just a job. I just have to make the most out of it, I have to be good with what I’m doing.”
After managing to secure a good contract with Shell Turbo Blazers for Calaguio, word of mouth spread, and more players began approaching him. Dy initially did not seriously consider them, but persuasion from a friend led him to accept their offers, leading him to become one of the most prolific sports agents in the country today. He eventually founded the sports agency Virtual Playground with Dondon Monteverde, which he is part of today.
A GROWING FAMILY
“Life is like basketball. Sometimes you’re on top, sometimes you get dribbled on, sometimes you get kicked on, but at the end of the day, it’s how you take care of the ball,” he advised. All the players he managed approached him, and he maintains a strict guidance over them, such as no drinking or bar-hopping during a basketball season since they should be good role models. When it comes to contracts, he settles for nothing but the best for his players. “I only go for quality, not quantity,” he says.
Dy is proud that he helped a lot of players improve their lives, even if some are not under his management anymore. “I treat them like family, like brothers [and] sons. I think that’s what makes it more fun because I have a growing family,” he expresses.
“I just want to leave a legacy that I was able to help a lot of people, because at the end of the day, all the material things…you can’t bring with you. So, I think the best [thing] is to be able to leave a mark in the lives of more people.”
If you want to learn more about this Chinoy, watch his extended CHiNOY Profiles here!