AFTER making it back to Adamson's lineup, Jerome Garcia was quick to repay the faith of new coach Mike Fermin.
The former Jose Rizal University high school standout was part of the Falcons' 2013 team under Leo Austria, but failed to make last year's team under Kenneth Duremdes.
Reinstated into the lineup by Fermin, Garcia returned the favor in a big way on Sunday when he scored a career-high 26 points in the Falcons’ first win of the UAAP season - 73-68 victory over University of the Philippines.
Garcia said not making the team last season served as a challenge for him.
“Nung nangyari ‘yun, pinush ko sarili ko na sana ganito ang nangyari, sana inimprove ko sarili ko,” said Garcia, also known as J-Gars to his teammates and coaches.
“Inimprove ko rin ‘yung shooting ko at defense. Lahat naman iniimprove ko pa rin. Sana magtuluy-tuloy,” he said.
Garcia’s shooting was spot-on against the Maroons. He connected on five three-pointers and scored 13 points in the second quarter to put Adamson ahead, 47-28.
But more than his offense, Fermin was happier with the returnee's defense.
“It’s about time. Siya ‘yung isa sa mga inaasahan namin. Going to this game, pinaghandaan naman ni J-Gars ‘yan. Give credit to him. We pushed him to the limit and he responded.
“Si J-Gars, pinipush namin siyang dumepensa. ‘Yun ang reason kung bakit minsan, hindi siya nagagamit kasi prime (piority) namin sa team is defense. We are working on it,” Fermin said.
Garcia responded to the challenge.
“Masaya ako kasi para sa akin, ginawa ko lang trabaho ko,” Garcia said. “Kung ano ‘yung gustong pagawa ni coach, gagawin ko. Sabi nga niya, banat lang ng banat. Binwenas din.”