WITH their regular point guard in mourning after the death of a loved one, the Adamson Falcons found a compelling reason to win their season debut in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament.
The Falcons went all out in beating the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons, 79-67, in part to offer the win to starting point guard Ryan Monteclaro’s late mother.
Star Jericho Cruz said everyone in the team pushed to lift the spirits of their grief-stricken teammate.
“Dine-dedicate kasi namin ‘yung game sa mother ni Ryan,” said Cruz after the game.
With their starting playmaker obviously devastated, back-ups Ar-raouf Julkipli and Axel Inigo made sure they got the job done when they took over the playmaking chores from Monteclaro.
It was Julkipli who started at the point and finished with eight points, seven rebounds, two assists, and a steal in 20 minutes of play, while Inigo, recruited from San Beda, came off the bench and came away with six assists and two steals to go with three points.
And no one was happier for the two than coach Leo Austria.
“I’m happy to see na nag-deliver sila,” Austria said of his back-up point guards. “I don’t need them to score. I told them na you have the skills of a point guard. But I want my point guard to set up plays.”
Just like brother Nikki who plays for Emilio Aguinaldo College in the NCAA, Monteclaro showed up for the Falcons’ game against the Maroons even when the family was still mourning the death of mom Sylvia last week. (See Grieving Monteclaro determined to honor memory of late mom)
But Austria understandably, played him for just a minute as he hasn’t practiced with the team the past few days to be with his family.
“Our sympathy to Monteclaro because deep inside his heart, he wanted to play to help the team. But I’m sure na he’s out of focus at may mga iniisip pa siya. To lose a mother, it’s really hard for him to play,” said Austria.
The soft-spoken mentor, however, respected Monteclaro’s decision to suit up upon the instruction of his father, who told his two playing sons to play since their late mother always reminded them not to miss games.
“To lose a mother, it’s really hard for him even if he says he is ready. I have to give respect to him. Ryan is close to the team. Siya ang glue ng team,” said Austria.