JEROME Garcia had been waiting eagery for the opportunity to play against his former team Adamson, and his new coach at Emilio Aguinaldo College had his back.
Garcia, who previously played for the Falcons in the UAAP, got some words of encouragement from EAC mentor Ariel Sison and he hit some important shots to help the Generals shoot down the Falcons in the Filoil preseason tournament.
"Actually, nung una kong nakita 'yung schedule ng Filoil, hinanap ko agad," said Garcia, referring to EAC's game against Adamson. "Sinabi ko agad, 'Bro, May 22.' Sobrang gustong gusto ko 'tong game na 'to."
"Luckily, nakuha naman 'yung panalo. Sobrang saya. Para kang nabunutan ng tinik sa dibdib," said Garcia.
After playing in Season 78 for the Falcons, Garcia lost his spot in the lineup following the coaching change that saw Franz Pumaren assume the Adamson coaching position.
Sison said he encouraged Garcia to play at a high level against Adamson, which reached the UAAP Final Four last season.
"I told him, 'This is for you,'" said Sison. "Tell Adamson that they were wrong (to let you go)."
Garcia had a solid outing when he had seven points, three rebounds, and three assists. One of Garcia's passes were to Sidney Onwubere, who scored to give the Generals a 61-59 lead.
The Generals later leaned on Francis Munsayac as he scored crucial baskets in overtime.
Sison had only one piece of advice for Garcia before the game, reminding him not to be overly excited for the match against Adamson.
He did exactly that.
"Sabi sa akin ni coach, 'Jerome, stay focused.' Alam ko naman na buong team, dine-dedicate sa akin 'yung game," said the 24-year-old Garcia.