GERRY Abadiano prayed to high heavens that somehow, Nazareth School of National University could pull it off.
Twelve game minutes later, heaven gave its answer.
The Bullpups team captain was smiling from ear-to-ear after the squad from Jhocson secured the UAAP Season 81 juniors' basketball title, sweeping Ateneo in two games and capping it off with a 64-53 Game Two win on Friday.
"Inisip ko na lang at nag-pray ako sa loob ng locker room na sana makuha namin yung panalo," he said as he wound up with eight points and nine rebounds. "Sobrang saya ko kahit wala ako sa loob at na-sustain nila yung game at nakuha yung panalo."
Abadiano was thrown out of the game with three seconds remaining in the third quarter, with NU holding a precarious 46-45 lead entering the payoff period.
But as tightly contested as the game was, the 17-year-old said that his trust never waned on his teammates.
"May tiwala naman ako sa mga teammates ko na kaya nilang kunin yung panalo," he said.
Lucky for the Bullpups, they had more than enough manpower to get the job done.
Terrence Fortea hit the big buckets late to unfurl 15 points, four assists, and two rebounds, and Carl Tamayo registered a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds on his way to the Finals MVP award as they helped NU end its three-year title drought.
And for Abadiano, that's just the fitting end to all the hardships and sacrifices these Bullpups endured all year long.
"Since summer, nag-start na kami ng training," said the 5-foot-11 guard. "Sobrang saya na nakuha namin yung championship ngayon kasi lahat ng hirap, lahat ng pagod, lahat ng pawis binigay namin tapos yun yung outcome ng ginawa namin."