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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jun 24, 2023



                                  DIREK DANIEL PALACIO OF 'HUGOT'

WRITER-DIRECTOR Daniel Palacio’s debut film, “Pailalim”, starring Joem Bascon as a gravedigger who sells a corpse to get money for his ailing daughter, won the best picture and best director awards in the 2019 Sinag Maynila Filmfest. 

For Brillante Mendoza’s Centerstage Production, he then did the sexy drama,”Kaliwaan”. Now, he is on his own for his new Vivamax, “Hugot”, starring Benz Sangalang and Azi Acosta.

“Hugot” is a term in local basketball where a player is taken out (hugot) from an out of town to join a barangay team to beef up their chances of winning in tournaments. 

Benz Sangalang plays the lead role of Cocoy, a basketball player who has to choose between playing on the court or do something illegal but more lucrative to help his poor family. 

“The movie is factual kasi I really play basketball,” says Direk Daniel. 

“I know the ins and out about playing basketball sa barangay leagues sa mga probinsya. 

"Marami talagang magagaling na players who are not given the opportunity to show their talent kasi wala silang pera to enroll in colleges kaya di nabibigyan ng break.”

How did he cast the lead role in the movie? 

“For two months, naghahanap kami ng aktor na magaling talaga mag-basketball at babagay sa role ng Cocoy,” says Direk Daniel. 

“While meeting with Boss Vic sa Viva, lumapit sa’kin si Benz. He heard I’m casting ‘Hugot’ and he showed me video clips of him playing basketball. 

"Nakita ko magaling talaga siya maglaro so I said I found our Cocoy. 

"As for the girls, sina Boss Vic chose Azi Acosta, Stephanie Raz and Apple Castro. Viva really prepared them well sa workshops na binibigay sa kanila kasi puro magagaling sila.”

“Hugot” is a movie about making choices. Benz as Cocoy is a charming young man in his early 20s. 

Like many others his age, he lives an active lifestyle and plays basketball. 

He is well known in their town for being an ace player in this game, and everyone knows his potential and that he can make a better future out of it. 

But life’s circumstances and financial struggles hinder Cocoy from pursuing his dream. He then takes a different path where he could earn more money in a faster and easier way.

He trades basketball and hoops with drugs and gambling, the life of crime is now his new ball game, and the world of illegal dealings is now his playing court. 

Can Cocoy still get back on track and take the right way to success, or will he forever be tied to his new life?

Will he go to what his heart wants? Or will he prioritize the comfort of his family? 

Also in the cast of “Hugot” are Mark Anthony Fernandez and Joko Diaz portraying vital roles as major influences in Cocoy’s life.

Supporting them are Stephanie Raz, Jiad Arroyo, Apple Castro, Julio Diaz, Mickey Ferriols and Isadora. Stream Hugot exclusively on Vivamax this June 30, 2023