Johnny Perlas: Soaring through the clouds of instant awareness


IN the game called life, we need to have great mentors to succeed, according to Johnny Perlas, a former Blue Eagle point guard. He said one of those who molded him was legendary basketball Coach Virgilio “Baby” Dalupan.

Aside from being a great coach who won several titles in the collegiate tournaments, amateur commercial leagues and in the Philippine Basketball Association, Dalupan was also known as an excellent mentor to his players on important lifelong values, such as discipline, perseverance, teamwork and patience.

Perlas said he is one of the beneficiaries of the Dalupan school of discipline when he played under the legendary coach for two years. It was a memorable stint for the AB Communication graduate, because Perlas learned the value of hard work and discipline.

“I played for two championship years under Coach Baby and to him there were no superstars. If you want to play, practice hard and you will get your playing time,” he said in an e-mail interview with the BusinessMirror.

Among his teammates in the 1976-1977 and 1977-1978 teams were Steve Watson, Fritz Gaston, Joy Carpio, Padim Israel, Louie Rabat, Chito Narvasa and EU Puyat.

Aside from Dalupan, Perlas cited Fr. Bert Ampil S.J. and Nannete Diyco as his influential mentors. Perlas described Fr. Bert as the consummate educator. “He will not tell you what to study but rather what you have not learned,” he said.

As for Diyco, Perlas knew the type of persona to expect in the advertising world. Through Diyco, Perlas expected advertising people to be flamboyant, articulate and convincing.

Perlas, who is currently a senior lecturer at Saint Joseph College, Saint Paul College in Quezon City, and the University of the Philippines-Diliman, said his academic involvement was based on classroom-to-classroom experience.

Being a provincial lad, Perlas admitted that television commercials and the broadcast environment dazzled him as a student. That led him to pursue his AB Communications degree in Ateneo.

After graduation, Perlas worked at McCann Erickson as an account manager. He got his baptism of fire in the company and described his stint there as “rocky, turbulent, unforgiving but rewarding.”

“This opened doors for me in the sales, marketing and business development milieu,” Perlas said.

After working for several years in the corporate world, Perlas developed a yearning to go back to academe. “Somehow I always find a way to be in the classroom, or rather the classroom lures me back. I’ve gone full circle,” he said.

Perlas thanked his students for luring him back to academe. It gives him a high degree of satisfaction when students tell him years after their graduation that they use his lectures as reference in their current jobs.

“My style in any level was largely influenced by Fr. Joseph Galdon S.J. and Professor Louie Beltran. Both were writers, have technical mastery of the subject, and were like drill sergeants. They will pound you to the bone. An article [almost] every meeting must be submitted but returned with detailed corrections.”

Aside from giving substantial and valuable inputs in his lectures, Perlas has also coached advertising students. Since 2011, he coached several winning teams that participated in students advertising competitions such as the ADSPEAK, Student Advertising Congress, and the ARAW Awards.

For Perlas, competitions—whether scholastic or sports events—are important for students because they provide an opportunity to showcase their level of competence. For mentors or coaches, competitions provide a measure of whether their methods actually work. “To win in advertising contests, I have to develop a culture of creativity,” Perlas said.

“That culture involves research, strategy formulation, language competency, and discipline in adhering to brief storylines and humor,” Perlas added.

Given the advertising world’s current environment, Perlas said it is very challenging because of the clutter and disturbance in the reception of messages. To succeed in this kind of environment, Perlas said one has to stand out and be different.

Last but not least, the presence of good mentors is important to guide and motivate students to realize their full potential. Given the mentors that molded him, it’s not surprising to see this former Blue Eagle point guard soar high in his chosen field.

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