ANTIPOLO -- Jun Manzo needed not to look that far to dig down deep and steer University of the Philippines to an unbelievable come-from-behind 81-77 stunner over Adamson on Sunday.
All he needed to think about was that his season depended on it and there's really no more tomorrow.
"Inisip ko lang na kailangan talaga naming manalo. Parang ito na yung last game ko," he said.
With the Soaring Falcons holding a 12-point edge, 72-60, with 7:10 remaining, Manzo urged the Fighting Maroons to keep on chipping.
And what better way for them to put their lessons from their 84-78 defeat to University of Santo Tomas last Wednesday into action.
"Sinabi ko lang sa kanila na wag tayong mag-relax. Kasi yung sa last game sa UST, one minute left at lamang kami ng apat, nag-relax kami. So parang sayang. Inisip ko lang na dapat hindi na ulit mangyari yun," the 22-year-old court general said.
What followed was a killer 16-2 run, capped off by a Manzo putback that got UP back in the game and the 76-74 lead with 2:19 remaining.
Although Jerom Lastimosa was able to steal the lead back for Adamson, it was for only a moment as Kobe Paras responded with a three to reclaim the 79-77 advantage with 1:25 remaining before the Fighting Maroons showed their resolve in the endgame.
Truly amazing was that fightback that one can't fault Manzo for letting his tears fall when the final buzzer horned.
"Iniisip namin na kung matalo kami ngayon, baka wala na kaming tsansang maging number two," the Cebuano guard said, fully aware of how important this game was to UP's postseason fate after finishing with 17 points, seven in the last seven minutes, alongside seven rebounds and three assists.
"Kung ma-sweep ng Ateneo ang eliminations, mahihirapan na kami kasi maglalaban yung three and four. Ito yung susi para makabalik ulit kami sa Finals."
With the Fighting Maroons' confidence back, Manzo sees this final stretch of games as must-win affairs, looking to use these final games as their buoy to make a return trip to the championship round.
"Tatratuhin namin na parang last game na talaga namin ang bawat laro kasi kailangan talagang makapasok kami sa Finals," he said. "Yun ang pangarap namin."