PAT Pesquera has endured it all, three years of pain to be exact, as the losses piled up for University of the Philippines.
"I'm very competitive. Minsan magla-lash out ako sa iba and iisipin ng iba na madali akong magalit o naninigaw, but it's only because I want to win," said the graduating winger who endured winless seasons for the past two years.
"I'm sick of losing, but at the same time, naa-accept ko naman yun given all the circumstance. Naiintindihan ko kung bakit kami natatalo. Pero ako, gusto ko lang manalo."
The 23-year-old helped UP finally end its slump after 38 straight games, burying the game-winner from halfcourt as the Lady Maroons scored a 55-52 win over University of the East on Saturday.
There was no signs of panic for the BS Physical Education major, demanding the ball after Cindi Gonzales got the rebound and swished the ball through the net at the buzzer.
"Actually simple lang ang naisip ko. I wanted it in my hands," she said with the game tied at 52. "Chineck ko yung time, three seconds left, isip ko kaya pa naman. Alam ko naman na ibabato ko yun and I just hoped for the best. Hanggang ngayon, di pa rin ako makapaniwala na pumasok."
That capped of her 13-point, nine-rebound and three-assist performance that gave UP its breakthrough win.
Coincidentally, it was also Pesquera who hit the winner for UP last time the Lady Maroons tasted the sweet taste of victory, a 46-44 squeaker over FEU on Nov. 9, 2016.
For Pesquera, the win means a lot not just for the current team but for all those who endured the horrifying skid.
"I keep on thinking about all the struggles along the way and yung journey. Mas meaningful ito para sa akin kasi hindi lang naman ito para dito sa grupo namin, kundi pati rin para sa previous teammates ko. Para sa amin itong lahat. Ito yung common struggle namin, na manalo kaya sobrang saya lang talaga namin," she said.
She hopes that this would be the turning point for the UP women's basketball program.
"We're trying to start yung winning culture," she said.
Lady Maroons coach Paul Ramos also feels the same way.
"It's very important for us to break that barrier. Even if gusto nating sabihin na process yan, the players and the team needs to feel this winning experience again cause it's so hard for them to overcome the fears, the doubts in themselves every time they lose," he said.
"I'm really hopeful that after this win, we can move forward faster. That's my hope, na natanggal na yung barrier sa mga ulo namin, na we can win and we deserve to win, and we're capable of winning."
Although one win doesn't really mean that much in the grand scheme of things, Ramos believes that this serves as an eye-opener for the squad that with their full effort, anything can be achieved -- even for the cellar-dwelling UP.
"We just want to keep on working hard so that we can put ourselves again in a position to win. Putting ourselves in a position to win is the most important part and how to get there, paano makadikit sa kalaban is the challenge for us every single game."