"Close friend lang."
This was how Matt Evans described the girl he was kissing in a photo that circulated on the Internet recently.
The former Pinoy Big Brother Teen housemate said that the photo was taken two years ago and it probably came from his lost cell phone. "Nanakawan kasi ako ng cell phone dating-dati pa," he briefly explained at the press conference of ABS-CBN's upcoming afternoon TV series Rosalka held last night, May 5, at the Dolphy Theater of ABS-CBN.
Matt also related that he already talked to his close friend, who was surprised when the photo came out.
"Siyempre, nakakailang kahit naman siguro sinong tao, lalo na kung hindi niya alam ang takbo ng industriya. Sabi ko naman, 'yon nga, may mali dahil unang-una, nanakawan ako ng phone. So, sana hindi na maulit," he said.
Matt also insists that his relationship with the girl is nothing beyond friendship.
"Naka-focus lang talaga ako sa career ko ngayon. Kung anuman ang mga outside job ko, siguro hindi naman maiiwasan na bibigyan mo ng kaunting kasiyahan ang sarili mo, like mga gimik, pangtanggal stress na rin," he said.
NEW ONSCREEN PARTNER. In Rosalka, Matt is paired with ABS-CBN's "Empress of Drama"—17-year-old actress Empress Schuck. Although this is not the first time that they'll work together in a project—they were part of the TV remake of the '80s film Underage—this will still be a new experience for the 23-year-old actor whose constant screen partner is Melissa Ricks.
"Siyempre, maninibago ako," said Matt. "Mahirap siya ngayon kasi siyempre, hindi mo alam kung ano ang ine-expect ng tao. At saka sana magustuhan din ng mga tao at maging okay din."
He added, "Ngayon ko lang siya [Empress] ulit makakasama. Parang in a long term na dahil sa teleserye. At saka kasi iba ang role na gagampanan niya ngayon. Noong una kasi naming mga role, siyempre parang mga normal lang, physically normal lang. Ibang-iba kasi kuba siya. Ako, para sa kanya, nabibilib ako kasi mahirap 'yong prosthetics na ginagawa lalo na kapag taping. Buong araw mong titiisin 'yon."
Matt says that this new partnership with Empress does not really mean he will not be paired with Melissa anymore.
He related, "Wala naman silang [ABS-CBN management] planong ganun. Basta ang plano ng management, for now, si Empress muna [makakasama ko]. Hindi rin nila sinabi na si Empress na ang partner ko. Sa Rosalka kasi, love triangle kami dito, so walang definite na partner or interest na ganun."
What was the reaction of Melissa about his team-up with Empress?
"Siyempre, masaya siya para sa akin dahil may panibago akong project. Unang-una, kay Empress din naman ang partner ko at kaibigan naman talaga niya si Empress," he answered.
CONTINUOUS TV PROJECTS. Matt expressed his gratitude to his home network for constantly giving him projects. The young actor is still busy taping for the early primetime series Tanging Yaman when Rosalka was offered to him.
He admitted that it's a little hard to juggle his time for the tapings of the two teleseryes. Matt added, "Sa ngayon nag-a-adjust po ang Rosalka, kasi nga, medyo hectic ang schedule namin sa Tanging Yaman dahil kailangan naming tapusin at madudugo rin ang mga eksena. So, sa ngayon po, medyo hirap lang sa schedule pero kayang-kaya pa rin."
Despite this, Matt still does not complain because he considers this as a blessing.
"Siyempre, nagpapasalamat talaga kasi hindi lang isang beses, sunud-sunod. Kumbaga, pagkatapos ng isa, meron ulit. 'Yong tiwalang binibigay ng management, sobrang nagpapasalamat talaga ako."
Does he think he has already improved in acting?
"Sabi nila malaki na ang pagbabago," he said. "Pero siyempre ako, mas gusto ko pa ring ayusin pa lalo. Marami pa ring [mga dapat i-improve], parang may konting palya pa. Kailangan ko pa talagang ayusin."