AFTER 27 long years, college pals George Pascua and Ramil de Jesus are both back in the UAAP finals.
But this time, the former teammates in the Far Eastern University that won a UAAP championship back in 1991 are on the opposing sides of the court in the Season 80 women’s volleyball finals.
Pascua, who was then a middle blocker, helped FEU make it to the finals for the first time in nine years while former outside hitter De Jesus steered La Salle to its 10th straight finals appearance.
Hours before FEU defeated Ateneo in the Final Four on Saturday, the two were seen chatting with each other at the spectator seats.
“Sabi namin, ibang klase ang volleyball ngayon,” said Pascua.
“Hindi kami naging part ng ganito karaming nanonood, pero naging part kami para maging successful,” he added.
“Sabi niya (De Jesus), 'Naging part pa rin tayo kaya naging successful ang volleyball.' Sabi niya may contribution pa rin tayo,” he continued.
Pascua and De Jesus could only smile as they looked back at the time when they played before in a near-emptyUniversity of the Philippines gym in Diliman.
“Nagkukuwentuhan kami, sabi namin, buruin mo ’yung UP noon noong naglalaro tayo doon halos hindi napupuno kahit isang layer ng ganoon (upuan) tapos nanonood lang ‘yung mga ano nasa lapag lang,” said Pascua.
“Tapos nakakasilaw, kapag umuulan tumutulo pero tignan mo oh, ang dami, libu-libo ang nanonood,” he added.
FEU athletic director Mark Molina even kidded the two that De Jesus must wear a FEU shirt, but Pascua tried to make him wear a Tamaraws jacket instead.
“Dumaan kasi accidentally si Sir (Mark Molina) sabi niya, ‘Oh, dapat bigyan ng (FEU) t-shirt ‘yang si coach Ramil,’” said RDJ.
“So kinukulit niya (Pascua) ako kasi t-shirt ‘yung pinapabigay, jacket ‘yung kinuha so sabi ko hindi ako magsusuot ng jacket kaya ‘yun ‘yung kulitan namin,” he added.
Game One of the best-of-three Finals is on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum.