TOUGH as the news of his ACL injury was for BJ Andrade, the 21-year-old considers it as a blessing as his comeback next year will also coincide with the arrival of his cousin Dave Ildefonso in Ateneo.
"Feeling ko blessing in disguise na rin na pagsasabayin kami ni Dave," he said.
Ildefonso has moved to Ateneo from National University and could see action for the Blue Eagles next season.
Andrade hurt his right knee on Saturday when he tried to defend San Beda forward Calvin Oftana's drive in the first quarter of the Blue Eagles' 83-69 victory over the Red Lions in the 2019 Philippine Collegiate Champions League UAAP-NCAA Challenge.
He immediately knew something was wrong when he landed.
"Pagka-land ko, alam ko na eh. Sabi ko sa PT namin, may nag-click sa tuhod ko," he shared. "Nagpa-MRI kami agad, nung nakita ko yung results, ACL nga daw. Na-shock ako at parang nawalan ako ng gana."
Andrade, though, was grateful for the support that he got from his teammates.
"Dahil sa support ng teammates at friends ko, binibigyan nila ako ng hope," the 6-foot guard said as he braces for up to a year off.
Andrade was expected to fill the veteran role in Ateneo in what was supposed to be his fourth playing year.
Those plans, however, will have to be shelved for a season.
Despite his absence, Andrade still believes that the Blue Eagles, despite losing five veterans led by Thirdy Ravena, Isaac Go and the Nieto twins Matt and Mike, are still capable of defending their UAAP title when Season 83 rolls later this year.
"Siguro para sa akin, tiwala ako sa teammates ko. May mantra kami na next man up. Not of a big deal kumbaga," he said.
"Syempre, beterano na ako pero wala na tayong magagawa doon, so tiwala na lang sa teammates ko at sa coaches. Susupport ko pa rin sila kahit anong mangyari. Pero ang focus ko muna yung rehab and recovery. Sana maging successful yung operation ko."
Andrade is set to go under the knife on Feb. 21.