Justine Garcia has propelled Adamson High School to a scorching start in the UAAP Season 86 Boys’ Basketball Tournament.
With the 5-foot-11 Kapampangan floor general at the helm, the Baby Falcons have breezed past the competition, boasting a flawless 4-0 record.
Being a leader is precisely what head coach Mike Fermin anticipated from the heady Garcia, who steps into the shoes left vacant by Peter Rosillo.
“Yun naman expectation sa kanya being the leader and senior of the team. He has been with us since the pandemic. Lalaro na dapat siya ng Season 83,” said Fermin after Adamson’s 66-51 rout of University of the East on Tuesday.
“Siya talaga yung leader at sabi namin sa kanya, ‘lead by example.’”
In Season 85, Garcia was caught participating in a ‘ligang labas’ game.
Although the amateur league no longer imposes strict rules on its student-athletes regarding playing in non-professional or non-commercial teams, it has to be at the discretion of the school.
Garcia failed to inform Adamson of his foray, resulting in a school-imposed suspension of three games.
“Talagang hindi po ako bumababa sa dorm nun at hindi ako nagpapakita kayla Coach Mike.
“Kinausap nila ako nun at pinatawad nila yung mistakes ko. Binalik ko yung tiwala nila sa akin,” shared Garcia.
Certainly, Garcia learned his lesson.
“Lesson learned sa akin yun. Yun yung pinaghugutan ko at hindi muna ko umuuwi. Stay muna dito para makuha yung goal namin na makuha yung championship,” the 19-year-old, Grade 12 senior continued.
Focused and rejuvenated, Garcia now aims to reciprocate the trust bestowed upon him by Adamson by delivering something the school hasn’t experienced in 30 years — a high school basketball crown.
“Goal ko ay maganda yung maipakita ko as a leader sa team. As a team, gusto namin makabalik sa finals at makuha yung gold.”