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Bea Daez and a UAAP career fulfilled

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Every athlete dreams of a triumphant swansong. A moment when they make the last minute shot which not only wins the game, but also the championship. Only a select few can say that they were able to experience such euphoria.

Unfortunately, the majority of us never experience that moment. Most are only fans of the team and players, while others are athletes who’ve never had the spotlight focused on them because of their lack of glory.

One such athlete was Bea Daez of the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons.

The Lady Maroons ended the current season at seventh place, with stalwart Bea Daez left to lament the fact that she had never played in the Final Four during her whole UAAP career.

Daez endured a disappointing end to her UAAP stay. The Lady Maroons had made a 7-0 run in the last two minutes and were down just 52-54. It was on Daez to complete the comeback. She attacked the Far Easter University defense, made a three, but it hit the front rim of the hoop and deflected.

The result handed UP their tenth loss of Season 78. At the end of the game she was in tears, but Daez’s fist was raised as she and her teammates, coaches, and schoolmates sang the UP Naming Mahal. It was her last game as a Lady Maroon, and she had scored 14 markers and made 13 points-per-game overall in Season 78.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Bea Daez and a UAAP career fulfilled

“Kinapos lang talaga sa dulo. Parang feeling ko there were times during the game na nagrerelax kami, dapat hindi. We prepared well for them pero ayun minsan pag hindi kami nakakascore, nagdodown yung iba naming teammates,” Daez said after the game. She also rued the fact that FEU easily broke UP’s press numerous times in the game and cashed in on it via points in transition.

Ironically, Daez had been attracted to UP because they always did well in the post-season. “Hindi ko alam kung minalas lang talaga ako na pagkapasok ko sa UP dun kami medyo nagkakatalo-talo. Siguro ibang generation din yung narinig ko at that time. “

Since being appointed team captain this Season 78, Daez had wanted to foster team spirit in the UP Lady Maroons. Divisions were rife in the team and Daez had immediately wanted to fix that. No matter how much individual talent a team has, it won’t win titles if there isn’t any camaraderie. She shared, “We made it a point na magiging buo talaga kami kasi yung skills nandun na eh. Siguro may lack of experience pa din yung mga ibang players namin but then I know that we’re skilled. If we’re one as a team, we’d be able to have a lot of upsets which we were able to do”.

In her last team huddle as captain, Daez told her teammates that it wasn’t the games they won that she could bring with her as lessons, now that her UAAP career was over, but the experiences from Seasons 77 and 78. The Lady Maroons were winless in Season 77 while they clinched four this Season 78. Daez said, “It just proves to me and to everyone else that we can really do the impossible because everyone really said that winning for us was impossible but then if we stick together and you focus your minds on the goal, you’ll be able to do a lot of things that other people think you would never be able to do.”

Along with Daez, two more of the starting five of the Lady Maroons completed their eligibility for UP. Daez said the remaining Lady Maroons will have to step up now that she and others are done. She also hopes that UP will step up in the recruitment game come the next seasons.

One constant, though, is Daez’s belief in her teammates and her hope that a few others will return to the fold. “Hindi naman nawawala ang tiwala ko sa teammates ko. I know na they’ll prepare hard and work hard this off-season for next year tsaka may mga ibang players naman diyan na umalis na may playing years pa so malay mo bumalik sila. Kapag bumalik sila that’s another story, magiging sobrang lakas pa din.”

Perhaps the best thing Daez left her teammates in UP was the base from which post-season contention could be built. For the Lady Maroons, four wins this Season 78 provided the foundation upon which they should build next Season 79.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Bea Daez and a UAAP career fulfilled

If there is one thing Daez is proud of as captain in her final playing year, it is that the Lady Maroons have proved a lot of people wrong and started to win again.“Lahat ng mga articles about the pre-season review counted us out already na mag 0-14 kami so nonetheless kahit talo kami ngayon, sobrang proud pa rin ako na binalik namin yung winning tradition which is my first and foremost goal naman sa season na ito”.

Daez didn’t celebrate any championship, nor did she experience a miraculous run in her last year. Nevertheless, that didn’t dampen the fulfillment she felt when she exited the Blue Eagle Gym as a Lady Maroon for the last time. “Being realistic, hindi ko masasabi na ang goal namin is mag-champion agad. Proud pa rin talaga ako and at least kahit papano, I’m exiting the season and my career dito sa UAAP na may panalo naman.”

Not that Daez won’t return for the Lady Maroons. She is committed to helping the Lady Maroons despite having no obligations to do so. “I already talked to the coaches na babalik ako to help in the second sem since nag-aaral pa talaga ako. Babalik ako sa mga guards, sa mga dribbling, sa mga skills. Yun yung matutulong ko sa kanila.”

While it may be the championships which shall be spoken about, it is the experiences one had which shall be remembered more. Just as Daez showed, it isn’t how you started out that mattered, but what you leave for your teammates and school that count more. The fulfillment you experience on the journey is what you’ll take with you in the future.

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Lorenzo's a frustrated author who knows a thing or two about Football and Basketball. Went all green from Ortigas to Taft. Supports Liverpool FC, FC Bayern Munich and the Alaska Aces

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