PAYBACK time came eight years after for JVee Casio, but the Alaska point guard will take it with open arms.
The heartache was finally soothed for Casio as De La Salle exacted revenge against long-time nemesis Ateneo following a two-game sweep of the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball finals Wednesday night.
Behind the huge 28 points of Jeron Teng, the top seeded Archers won Game Two, 79-72, against a hard-fighting Blue Eagles side, slaying the ghost of a similar sweep the Taft-based school suffered at the hands of its rivals during the Season 71 finals.
The loss still lingers in Casio’s mind since 2008 marked his final playing year for his beloved alma mater.
“Unfortunately we lost, so at least nabawi na,” said a smiling Casio shortly after the Alaska-Globalport PBA Philippine Cup game at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Among Casio’s La Salle teammates back then were Rico Maierhofer, Simon Atkins, LA Revilla, and Joshua Webb, while Ateneo had a powerhouse cast led by league MVP Rabeh Al-Hussaini, Noy Baclao, Chris Tui, Nico Salva, Ryan Buenafe, Eric Salamat, and Jai Reyes, among others.
The 30-year-old playmaker said there’s no better satisfaction than the Archers beating the Eagles with the championship at stake.
“Sweeter siguro kasi maganda ang competition between La Salle and Ateneo,” said the 5-foot-10 Casio. “Yun naman ang (spirit) ng competition, of giving out your best and pushing yourselves (to the limit).”
Casio said he would have loved being at the Smart Araneta Coliseum to savor the latest championship of the Archers, but the game was held almost simultaneously with Alaska’s encounter with Globalport, which the Aces won, 95-84.
“May trabaho tayo so we have to do our job,” he said. “Pero yung support ko nasa kanila.”
Casio finished with 15 points in the Aces’ first win of the season, including 10 in the payoff period when he connived with Calvin Abueva to help Alaska outscore Globalport, 33-19. He was a perfect 3 of 3 from three-point range and 6 of 8 overall from the field, while adding five rebounds and two assists.
The striking numbers did not in any way, have something to do with La Salle’s sweet victory.
“Hindi naman. Nagkataon lang,” said Casio.