Anjo Caram was elated that his career-high of 16 points didn’t go for naught, as he and the Meralco Bolts got one over bitter rivals Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 84-82, Sunday night at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
“Siyempre sobrang sarap ng feeling na panalo kami,” said the five-year pro.
The main reason for Caram’s inspired outing was being in the Philippine Arena.
The last time he and the Bolts had been in the arena, they were handed a heartbreak by the Ginebra during Game 7 of the 2017 PBA Governors Cup Finals. And Caram did not want to experience that pain again against their heated rivals.
“Going into this venue, ang dami naming masamang memories dito eh,” reflected the 27-year-old point guard with a slight grin.
“So, siyempre, parang motivation na rin sa’min na gusto namin manalo kalaban Ginebra.”
But the ultimate reason of their joy is the fact that Meralco kept themselves in the running for the playoffs. They have now improved to 4-6, and have forced a three-way tie with the Blackwater Elite and TNT Katropa at the ninth spot of the standings.
“Gusto pa namin pumasok sa quarters eh,” shared the five-foot-seven gunslinger from Iloilo City.
“So parang yung sinasabi sa’min ni coach [Norman Black], yung remaining games namin, treat namin as championship game.”
And that mentality is what they’re bringing into their final match of the eliminations, which will be against the Magnolia Hotshots this Saturday, February 24, in Cagayan De Oro City — a match that will tell their playoff fate.
“Gusto namin talaga manalo (versus Magnolia) kasi ‘di pa naman tapos eh. It ain’t over til it’s over, ‘di ba? So iti-treat pa rin namin yung game na yun na parang championship game, kasi ‘pag natalo kami doon, wala na eh,” the 5-foot-7 floor general said.
“Hindi kami gi-giveup. That’s how we honor the game: give our best lang every time.”