Last few seconds of the fourth and final quarter.
Will it be the last few seconds of the UAAP Basketball Finals Game 2?
Or will it be the last few seconds of the UAAP Basketball Season 79?
Seas of blue shouting “Get that ball!”
Passionate fans in blue, holding banners, cheering their hearts out, no matter how many times you fall.
Intense match. Exciting game. Stupid calls. Hype fans. Gwapo moves. Excellent passes. Amazing plays. Only in an Ateneo-La Salle match.
Goosebumps. Nervous hearts. Prayers. Because we believe. We trust. We hope. For the entire season, we cheered our hearts out. We didn’t let doubters bring us down. Instead, we proved them wrong. You were dubbed as underdogs. You were underestimated. You were sold short. You weren’t considered as top contenders. You were predicted to be at the lower part of the list.
Nevertheless, you made them shut up. You silenced the non-believers, not through bragging nor boasting, but through working hard and flying high. Through getting up, standing up, you managed to crawl your way up. It wasn’t an easy flight. In fact, it was accompanied with so much difficulties. The entire season was tiring, hard-bitten and heavy-handed. From your unending hardships during trainings, up to the indescribable pressure every game. From the motivations you get from your supporters, up to the harsh and unreasonable hate tweets from your doubters. You sacrificed so much. For Ateneo, for the blue community, and most importantly, for the greater glory of God.
Last few seconds.
La Salle leads by 6, their possession.
Some may say the battle’s over, but not me, not us.
The King Archer is already raising his hands, smelling victory.
They told me “Wala na, Champion na La Salle.”
But no. It’s not yet over. It’s no game over.
Because there are 6 seconds left. I believed. I silently hoped. Why would I stop believing? Why would I declare that the archers are already winners if there are few seconds left? I was waiting for a miracle. I did not stop cheering. Because I know they can, and they will; if God permits. “One Big Fight” is still in my LED scrolling display. Why would I give up, why would I stop believing when my team is freaking fighting? I do not have any right to back down because the Ateneo Blue Eagles are doing their thing! Tell me, why would I stop when through their eyes, I can see them saying, “We can’t stop, we won’t stop.”
And then it hits me.
The final buzzer already was heard.
The final buzzer of the UAAP Basketball Season 79. And the DLSU green archers claimed their 9th championship.
But I was surprised with my own feelings and emotions. I wasn’t that broken, wasn’t that lonely. Yes, it is sad. Who wants to lose? I think no one would. But that loss was one of the happiest loss I ever had for the whole time I am supporting Ateneo. It isn’t that heartbreaking because we’ve seen them struggle but we’ve also witnessed how they managed to strive and move forward, against all odds. They played against a much experienced team, but they fought really hard, they did their best and it’s already more than enough.
To the Ateneo Blue Eagles, thank you for the one big fight. Thank you for playing your hearts out. Thank you for this season’s rollercoaster ride. For the three-pointers, buzzer beaters, spins, blocks, excellent plays, and amazing ball movements you showed us. But above all, thank you for that big and humble heart. That strong heart who, in every way possible, has found ways to fight back and fly high when arrows and other warriors attack. You were down, but you went up. Now, that’s pure heart. And that’s something to be proud of.
So heads up. You didn’t lose anything. Maybe you did lose this season’s title, but tomorrow is another day, and next year is another season. But you gave your all, and with that, you’re already winners. Despite of that, we’d like to introduce ourselves to you all.
We are your supporters.
Win or lose, we’ll cheer for you.
You maybe are up by 15, or down by 20, but we will never get tired to shout your names and wear your color.
You never fail to amaze us.
Because when there’s 20% of chance to win, you taught us that we should not underestimate that 20%.
Thank you for making our hearts skip a beat. Because every game, we’re feeling like we’re near the end of our lives because of jittery.
When they no longer believe, we always will.
When they lose hope, we won’t.
We are one. We’re all in this together.
This isn’t just your game. This is ours. This is our battle.
So go, blue eagles. Play hard, train harder. Don’t let defeats bring you down. Use them as stepladders to be on top. But always remember, no matter how high the heights you have reached, stay humble. Because that makes you the best. Much better than the victors, much better than any contenders. Don’t brag about anything. Because you don’t need to. We’ll brag for you, because we’ll always be proud of you. Win or lose.
I did not regret that I cheered for this team. A team that’s humble in victory, and gracious in defeat. I won’t give up and I won’t stop believing, because you never did, until the last second, until the last buzzer.
You fought really hard, until the last blood.
Thank you, Blue Eagles.
Life after all, is not about winning. It’s about fighting and giving your all in that one big fight.
Thank you for not giving the ball up.
Even in the last few seconds.
Thank you for doing everything you could.
Thank you for fighting until the last second.
Thank you for fighting until the last blood.
Because silver feels like gold when you gave your all and you fought despite your size, experience, and number.
Thank you Gboy Babilonia, Jme Escaler, Shaun Ildefonso, Anton Asistio, Raffy Verano, Matt Nieto, Chibueze Ikeh, Adrian Wong, Jawuan White, Aaron Black, Jolo Mendoza, Vince Tolentino, Kris Porter, Mike Nieto, Isaac Go, Thirdy Ravena, and Coach Tab Baldwin.
Thank you for the one big fight.