Ateneo completed its return to glory just like the celebrated back-to-back Blue Eagles team of two decades back with Finals Most Valuable Player Rabeh Al-Hussaini at the helm. We'll let him get his well-deserved rest and championship hugs, of course, but not without talking to us first. [firstpara]
I've never had eight hours of sleep since we lost in Game 2. I've been sleeping like 5:30 AM or 6 AM. I kept thinking about how to win Game 3. Hindi ako papayag na uuwi akong luhaan kasi last year ko na. I talked to my girlfriend. Paano ba ito? Ayoko mangyari yung naranas namin nung 2006 Finals. But I trusted my teammates and we came out with one mission which is to win.
[On the day of Game 3] I only slept from 6 AM to 12:30 PM. Our coaster was already waiting and I still wasn't ready. I just kept praying. I asked for signs kung para ba sa amin talaga yung championship. Then I said my prayers again. Suddenly I felt good and that was when I started to believe we could really take Game 3 and be champs again.
LAST NIGHT OF DOMINANCE
This was my last year playing collegiate ball. I wanted to play without regrets. Ayokong isipin ng iba kung di ko ginawa ito at di ko ginawa yun. So I just went all out. Luckily everything paid off. All the hard work in practice paid off.
If it's not for coach Norman, I won't achieve everything that I have now. I remember how I was really just an average player before. Sometimes I listen to him, sometimes I don't. But eventually I realized kailangan ko talaga maniwala sa lahat ng sinasabi niya. I just put in my heart to follow him. Kung hindi dahil sa kanya wala ako rito.
I'm thankful for my five years with the Blue Eagles. Definitely I'll treasure this one. But this is really just the start. I'm only in college, so I have a long road ahead. Nasa baba pa lang ako. Pero kung papalarin, I'll just continue to work hard.
PBA OR SMART GILAS NATIONAL TEAM?
INTERVIEW: JASMINE PAYO
PHOTO: RYAN ONG