JERIE Pingoy felt that something divine was with him in Adamson's 57-50 win over La Salle on Saturday.
Starting for only the second time this UAAP Season 81, the Cebuano guard had the gall to take responsibility for the Soaring Falcons with the Green Archers staging a big fightback late.
Pingoy stepped on the right wing and went for a triple, drilling the big shot that gave Adamson a seven-point cushion, 53-46 with three minutes and 31 seconds remaining en route to the victory.
"Sobrang thankful ko lang na pumasok yung crucial na three-points. Sobrang sarap. Thank you sa Panginoon na nangyari," he said after finally having his best all-around performance in this campaign.
It was an emotional game for Pingoy, who dedicated the game to his fallen best friend Renz Bacelonia, whose first death anniversary falls on October 18.
"Nung pumasok yung three-points sabi ko, 'Renz, salamat.'," he said after finishing with six points, five rebounds, and five assists in the triumph.
Pingoy forged his friendship with Bacelonia when he got to Adamson. The two immediately clicked and hit it off right then and there.
"Batchmate ko siya. Lahat ng gusto niya, gusto ko rin. Yung mga gusto niyang laruin, nilalaro namin sa computer. Magkasama kami kahit saan," he said.
Bacelonia turned out to be one of Pingoy's biggest boosters, cheering the latter on whenever he wore the Adamson blue-and-white.
"Lagi siyang nanonood every game at magcha-chat siya sa akin. Siya yung everytime na matatalo kami, sasabihin niya sa akin, 'Ok lang yan. Bawi ka.' Wala akong money o pagkain, pinapapunta niya ako sa bahay nila sa Paco. Kahit may sakit na siya, sasabihin pa rin niya, 'Atabs, manonood ako,' kahit na sinasabihan ko siya na magpahinga na lang at magpagaling."
Unfortunately, Bacelonia passed away last year due to food poisoning, leaving Pingoy an emotional wreck as he came to grips of losing a loved one.
"Last year, second round against UE nung nangyari yun. After ng game, sobrang iyak ko at pumunta ako sa ospital. Sabi ng kapatid niya, 'Kuya wala na si kuya Renz.' Gumuho yung mundo ko. Sobrang sakit na di mo ma-take. Sobrang devastating nung nangyari," said Pingoy, feeling goosebumps as he shared his story.
That's why it really felt great for Pingoy to take this W, which also was Adamson's first over La Salle in three years as all of his efforts paid off.
"Since pagdating ni coach Franz, di talaga kami nanalo sa kanila, from Jeron Teng to Ben Mbala. Nung natalo kami sa La Salle, sabi ko sa sarili ko, 'Kailangan ko mag-trabaho pa.' Tinawagan ako ni coach Jack Santiago at sabi niya mag-jogging ako, tumakbo ako kasi balang araw, maipapasok ako nila sa first group ulit. Kaya nagtrabaho talaga ako. Kahit na di nila ako pinapatakbo, tumatakbo ako," he said.
"Kaya sobrang saya talaga. Parang nabawi lahat ng talo namin sa kanila. Masaya din ako na nakabalik ako at na-prove na kaya ko pang maglaro kahit na medyo lumaki ako. Kaya Renz, para sa 'yo ito lahat."