COACH Joe Silva dedicated Ateneo’s UAAP Season 77 juniors basketball championship to his late mother.
Other than dealing with the pain of losing someone dear to him, Silva said his mother’s death was likewise haunting as it happened while he was in the middle of a game calling the shots for the Blue Eaglets.
“It was really hard knowing my mom passed away while I was coaching,” admitted a teary-eyed Silva, 34.
The sad incident took place on September 11, 2013.
Silva sat at the Ateneo bench as part of then coach Norman Black’s staff as the Blue Eagles played the National University Bulldogs when his mother Maria Victoria Silva passed out in her seat at the Mall of Asia Arena.
It turned out to be the one last time her mother watched him coach a game as she went into a coma before she died 12 days later due to an aneurism.
Her mother, according to Silva, never missed watching a game since his days as assistant juniors coach to Jamike Jarin and as a member of Black’s coaching staff.
Silva said the incident was difficult for him as his mother died while the Blue Eaglets – of which he was already the coach – was in the middle of the stepladder phase.
Although the Blue Eaglets advanced to the finals, they lost to the Bullpups in the championship as NU completed a 16-game sweep of the tournament.
After going through what was one of the lowest points of his life, Silva said he had nothing more to lose.
“I didn’t feel any pressure anymore after that ordeal,” said Silva, who never won a championship as a high school player with Ateneo.
More than a year following the sorry experience, Silva finally got the biggest breakthrough of his coaching career after leading the Blue Eaglets back to the top of the UAAP juniors division after beating deposed champion NU Bullpups.
“I said I’ll leave it to the Lord and enjoyed coaching the boys. That is why I’m offering my championship to her (mother) and to the Lord,” said Silva, whose closest shot at winning a UAAP title came in 1998 when a Blue Eaglets team bannered by Larry Fonacier, BJ Manalo, and Paolo Bugia lost to Alwyn Espiritu and the University of Santo Tomas Tiger Cubs.
Shortly after winning the crown, Silva admitted owing a lot to current San Beda head coach Jarin, the same man he replaced after he guided Ateneo to the 2010 juniors title.
“Coach Jamike played a very, very, very big role in my coaching career. I was his player. He taught me everything along with coach Sandy (Arespacochaga), coach Norman (Black), coach Bo (Perasol), coach Joe Lipa.
"But it was really coach Jamike because when he left for Talk ‘N Text, he entrusted the team to me,” said Silva.