As Jose Rizal University’s alma mater hymn played second to the San Sebastian College-Recoletos’ that signaled the end of the season for the Heavy Bombers, graduating forward John Ervin Grospe — with his head so low and a towel to hide his tears — was heartbroken for not achieving his ideal college career ending.
“Basta malungkot ako eh. Gusto ko pa sana maglaro,” Grospe admitted to Tiebreaker Times while holding back tears.
“Kumbaga palagi na lang akong [hanggang] Final Four lang.”
Although JRU were at-par with San Sebastian in the first half, the third quarter saw a dominating offense built on fastbreaks from the Golden Stags. On the other hand, the Heavy Bombers struggled to keep up with them, missing basket after basket.
“Yung first quarter, lumalamang kami, sabi ko, ‘Amin na ito’ tapos nung nag third parang lumabas lang ako, mamaya nakikita ko na yung lamang palaki na ng palaki. Sabi ko, ‘Parang di yata sa amin ‘to,'” he regretfully recalled after JRU’s 73-85 season-ending loss, “Siyempre napanghinaan [ako] ng loob pero syempre para sa JRU, kailangan lumaban ka kasi ayaw mo silang [supporters] mapahiya kasi todo suporta sila sa amin.”
Tears were definitely shed during JRU’s last post-game huddle this season. But for the 6-foot-4 Bulacan native, even if his NCAA career is capped by a loss, Grospe, who averaged 10.8 points and 3.3 rebounds in his final year, hopes to progress in the next journey he will take which is the PBA.
“Ginawa ko yung best ko [sa PBA Draft Combine] para kahit papaano gusto ko rin mapansin ng mga scouts kasi halos mga big names naman yung nandun kaya siyempre gusto ko mapansin kahit sa JRU lang ako,” Grospe shared.
His mood may have lightened up when he started talking about the draft, but he couldn’t help being emotional when thinking of the fresh loss.
“Siguro excited na ako sa [draft sa] Linggo kaso nalungkot ako kasi talo kami ngayon.
“Expected ko nga na sana after ng Sunday, magpapapractice pa ako sa JRU [kasi may game pa sana kami],” he shared as his eyes welled up .
When asked what has been his biggest contribution to the JRU team after years of service, he shared that it is his high level of competitiveness. This is something that he hopes to instill the younger players to break what seems to be a glass ceilng of only reaching the top four for JRU.
“Siguro ang maiiwan ko diyan yung pagiging competitive ko. Gusto ko yung mga rookie na sana sa susunod na season, laban lang sila ng laban,” the PBA prospect shared.
“Manalo o matalo bigay lang nila yung best nila palagi sa game.”
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