HOURS before Emilio Aguinaldo College went to The Arena in San Juan for its big match against Letran on Friday, Jorem Morada went to a nearby church and offered a prayer for his late mother Lilanie.
On this day exactly a year ago, Morada’s mother passed away due to breast cancer.
Coincidence or not, but on this day too, the 20-year-old EAC stalwart came through with his best game of NCAA Season 91 when the Generals produced the year’s biggest upset win.
Morada finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds in the team’s shocking 83-69 win over the erstwhile undefeated Knights right on the first death anniversary of his mother.
It was the finest performance by Morada so far since skipping all of last season to go home and be at his ailing mother’s side in Davao.
Morada said he learned his mother had cancer in the summer of 2014, the news of which came as a shocker to him.
The bad news led Morada to decide not to play for EAC last year.
“Filoil days last year ‘yun,” said Morada, referring to the day he learned his mother has cancer. “Nung nalaman ko, nag-decide agad ako na umuwi,” he recalled.
“Siyempre kailangan ko siyang bantayan,” said Morada, when asked why he skipped playing last season. “Alam ko na din na may taning na ‘yung buhay niya. Kaya sabi ko kay coach (Gerry Esplana), na hindi ako mapapa-lineup kasi ‘yung mother ko, may sakit. Malala na.”
Morada described his mother as a caring one who always looked after him in every games.
“Maalagain siya. Every time na nakikita ko siya or after the game, sinusuportahan niya talaga ako. Hindi niya ako pinapabayaan. Tawag siya ng tawag sa akin,” said Morada.
Before heading over to the venue, Morada went to church to pray and ask for guidance as the Generals face the undefeated Knights.
“Kaninang umaga, nagdasal ako at nagsindi ako ng kandila. Nagdasal ako na gabayan niya ako kasi undefeated team ang kalaban namin,” he said.
Indeed, her mother could have been looking after him up there.
As if there was Divine intervention, Morada hit a remarkable bank shot to cap a rare four-point play with three minutes left in the game to give the Generals a 73-60 lead that proved to be the back-breaker.
“Sinabi ko, para sayo ‘to,” said Morada, who was only averaging 3.8 points per contest entering the game against the Knights.
Morada ended up scoring a team-high 12 fourth quarter points to help lead the Generals to their second straight victory.