Jerrick Balanza was a man on a mission, Tuesday at the Cuneta Astrodome.
His goal? To remain a Letran Knight for at least one more day.
“‘Di pa ito ‘yung huling laro ko. Kung ako tatanungin, siyempre, ayoko talaga. Ayoko pa magbakasyon. Gusto ko pang makasama teammates ko nang mas matagal,” vowed Balanza.
“Ayoko pang maghiwa-hiwalay kami.”
And the 23-year-old Letran lifer made good on his mission.
In a win-or-go-home game versus San Sebastian, Balanza started off on a blistering note, firing 13 of his 15 points in the first three quarters to give Letran a 69-59 lead entering the final frame.
But when RK Ilagan and the Golden Stags attempted a comeback, he did the little things like zoning in on Allyn Bulanadi, a fellow graduating senior who ended up with 15 points on 17 shots.
As the dust settled, Balanza and the Knights marched on to the semis with an 85-80 win.
Yes, Balanza will live to fight for the Knights for another day.
“Sobrang sarap sa amin ‘to kasi sa lahat ng sacrifices na ginawa namin na kahit undas, nag-eensayo kami, eto buhay na buhay pa kami.”
The 6-foot-2 swingman is not content with making it to the final three, though. For him, he still wants more.
And on Friday, they will go up against their neighbor Lyceum in another do-or-die game.
Just like against San Sebastian, Balanza will not let that game be his last.
“Confident kami na madadala namin ‘to sa Lyceum kasi alam kong buo kami eh. Confident kaming pagtatrabahuan naming matalo ‘yung Lyceum sa ensayo pa lang.”
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