Today, October 12, marks the start of the Fiesta Pilar – or Hermosa Festival – in Zamboanga City, which is about 828 miles from Manila. The festival is held in honor of the miraculous image of the Nuestra Señora del Pilar.
“Bata pa ‘ko, yun na yung panata ko,” said Meralco Bolts guard Mike Tolomia, a native of Zamboanga City.
Tolomia couldn’t join the fiesta as he is here in Manila fulfilling his obligations as a pro cager, and on the very same day of the festival, his Bolts had a game versus the NorthPort Batang Pier. So instead, he used it as an inspiration.
The game went the Far Eastern University product’s way. He shot nicely from the field en route to a 2018 Governors’ Cup personal-high of 18 points along with four rebounds, three assists, and a steal in 28 minutes.
“Isa na rin sa naging inspiration ko ngayong araw e fiesta sa Zamboanga City – ngayong araw mismo,” he said.
However, it wasn’t a personal outing that Tolomia could be proud of. His Bolts fought back from as high as 13, but it fell short, no thanks to the huge triples by Stanley Pringle and Sean Anthony in the final 52.3 seconds.
“‘Di na namin alam kung anong gagawin namin para manalo,” lamented Tolomia, as his team have now lost their sixth straight game, tying their worst losing streak in franchise history, according to the league’s stats chief Fidel Mangonon.
“Nakakaawa na nga yung import namin kasi binubuhat na niya kami, tapos ‘di pa rin nanalo,” added the 25-year-old, as Bolts import Allen Durham carried the load once more with 34 points, 19 rebounds, and seven assists.
At 1-6, the Bolts have clearly become one of the shockers in this season’s edition of the conference. From becoming a Finals fixture in the last two seasons, Meralco’s campaign might be heading into the doldrums.
“‘Di naman masaya na nasa baba ka. Talagang ibang-iba yung feeling,” said Tolomia.
“‘Yung kumpiyansa mo ‘di ganun kabuo. Kasi, siyempre ‘pag nananalo ka, yung kumpiyansa mo tumataas, e ngayon na ganito na natatalo ka?”
But that doesn’t mean the Bolts are throwing in the towel. For Tolomia, they are still optimistic that reaching the quarterfinals is attainable.
“Oo naman. Siyempre. ‘Di mo naman masasabi talaga e. Malay mo, manalo lang kami ng isa, magsunod-sunod na tapos mabigyan pa kami ng chance na makapasok sa quarters. Tapos, yun. Bahala na kung ano mangyari dun.”