When the De La Salle University faithful hoped and prayed for a hero before Game Two of the UAAP Season 86 Men’s Basketball Tournament finals, they probably did not expect Francis Escandor to rise to the occasion and lead the Green Archers to victory.
Escado dropped 14 points behind 4-of-5 shooting from deep as La Salle forced a Game Three by overcoming University of the Philippines, 82-60, Sunday at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
For the graduating 24-year-old winger, his production came from a determination to not end the campaign on a dismal note.
“Basically, the eagerness to win,” said the eagle-eyed sniper from Davao. “Coming into this game, the mindset came from a bad loss.
“Sabi namin, ‘We’re not going to go down this way.’ We really wanted to win and I think that’s where it came from – the eagerness to win and yung mindset namin na hindi kami magpapatalo.”
This is the second time this season that Escandor played a key role in a La Salle win over UP. The former De La Salle Zobel Junior Archer scored 11 points last November 5 to help the Green Archers prevail 88-79 over the Fighting Maroons.
He shrugged off the coincidental circumstance and moved forward from his good showing.
“Regardless of the results, I just keep my head down and I thank God for whatever He gives me and I know he has a bigger plan every day,” said the 6-foot-2 sniper.
“I’m very, very eager but then again, it’s not gonna be an easy fight. For sure, UP’s gonna come out all guns blazing and for sure it’s gonna be a dogfight.”
Lasallians will hope that Escandor will have another good showing against UP this Wednesday in Game Three of the finals. Each team will need all the players to step up just like how he did so tonight.
Game Three is where heroes are born and legends are made. Now, the former Ateneo de Davao student is going to work very hard to earn his stripes.
“We’re gonna prepare tomorrow and hopefully, we get a win on Wednesday as we can expect a full-on effort from both teams.”