Andy Gemao may have been a rookie in the NCAA Juniors Division, but he made sure that his presence was felt by producing an impressive stat line of 21 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, and three steals, leading Letran to victory against La Salle Green Hills in Game One of the Finals on Monday.
For the 16-year-old athletic guard, his performance was not only about bringing home the championship but also about giving the Letran community something to be proud of. Gemao said he wanted to put on a show for his classmates and faculty members who came to support him.
“Sobrang saya po namin.
“Nagulat po kami na sobrang daming nanood na Letran. Yung mga classmates ko pati yung mga faculty. Grabe po talaga yung suporta ng Letran,” he said.
Gemao’s contribution was crucial for Letran’s victory, as they clawed their way back from being 12 points down in the first half, eventually taking over in the fourth quarter. The young athlete admitted that he and his teammates felt the jitters at the start of the game, with the jam-packed venue filled with Letran supporters.
“Yung mga teammates ko po nanibago sa laki ng crowd, sa ingay kaya dun di po sila nakaisip ng masyado. Sinabi ko lang sa kanila stay composed. Hanapin nila yung pinaka best possible way para maka create ng opportunity,” he shared.
This is the first time that the Squires have reached the Finals since Season 85 in 2009, led by the likes of Mark Cruz and Oda Tampus.
They are one win away from snapping a 22-year title drought since 2001 when RJ Jazul, JC Intal, Jay-R Reyes, and Rey Guevarra gave the Squires their last championship.
Despite the pressure, Gemao remains focused on bringing the championship home for Letran. He uses it as a motivation to push himself and his team to do their best.
“Yung pressure po gaya ng sabi ko sa inyo sa pinakaunang interview natin, yun po yung nag-pupush samin. Hindi po yung nahihila dahil sa pressure, hinihila kami pagababa.”