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CJ Navato shares preparations in playing Carlo Paalam for MMK “Silver Punch” and the athlete’s admirable traits

Filipino Olympic silver medallist Carlo Paalam’s life story is both fascinating and inspiring how he managed to bring glory to the country through his punches and unwavering dreams despite poverty. His tale of victory will be shown in Maalaala Mo Kaya to be played by Kapamilya actor CJ Navato..

PHOTOS: CJ NAVATO STARS IN MMK EPISODE AS PINOY OLYMPIC SILVER MEDALIST CARLO PAALAM

CJ’s eyes brightened as he talked about meeting Carlo last January 7, before this interview for Kapamilya Chat. He said the athlete speaks and acts with so much humility, never scared to tell people his experience scavenging for food.

For CJ, it’s admirable how Carlo knocked poverty and daunting obstacles as beating people with his strong fists, noting the never-surrender attitude. “Kahit anong pagsubok sa buhay, parang ang dali-dali lang sa kanya. Pero ang pinaka nagustuhan ko din sa character niya, everytime na niyuyurakan ang pagkatao niya at ng pamilya niya, hindi niya mate-take ‘yun. Parang, sige, malasin na ako sa buhay, mahirap na kung mahirap, basurero na kung basurero pero huwag mong tatapakan ang pagkatao ko.”

But apart from the grit and talent inside the ring, he commends the boxing star from Cagayan de Oro for his big heart for the family, which he resonated with. “Naka-relate ako sa kanya na parang dagukan man ako ng buhay, pasasayahin ko ‘yung pamilya ko. I will lift my family up. Ganu’n ‘yung datingan niya. It really just spoke to me.”

CJ took his assignment diligently. He prepared for the character beginning with studying the script, then, he also watched videos of Carlo’s games to copy the stance and nuances. He also decided to lose weight for the role.

The episode marks CJ’s first lead MMK role and also his 14th guest appearance in the drama anthology. And for his biggest portrayal so far, he was given intense co-actors as well including Mon Confiado, William Lorenzo, and Aurora Sevilla

On working with them, CJ was admittedly shy and scared at first considering his co-stars’ acting experiences. But the jitters easily went away as he felt the respect and support from the seasoned actors. “Naramdaman ko kung paano nila ako sinuportahan talaga. ‘Yung respect na pare-pareho tayong artista dito. Hindi ako na-hinder talaga na sila yung kasama ko.”

CJ also had good words to say about Director Ian Loreños who was patient throughout. “Puro tawanan lang kami. I’m just so happy na napakabait din ng mga staff ng MMK. Mabigat ‘yung episode, pero hindi naging mabigat para sa isa’t isa.”

CJ also shared his message to Carlo. “Congratulations sa’yo, Carlo! I know you will continue being an inspiration sa mga kabataan. Ituloy mo lang yun at ang galing-galing mo.”

Catch MMK “Silver Punch” this Saturday, January 8, on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, and A2Z.