NEVER EVER GIVE UP: Squires turned Knights dedicate win to late mentor

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 29, 2017 07:26 PM
Squires turned Knights dedicate win to late mentor
NEVER EVER GIVE UP. Rey Nambatac, Bong Quinto, Jerrick Balanza, and Tommy Gedaria were all guided by the late Bob Lotuaco.

Colegio de San Juan de Letran scored a much-needed victory versus Emilio Aguinaldo College on Friday.

At the forefront of it all were team leaders Bong Quinto who scored a career-best 27 points to go along with three rebounds and two assists and Rey Nambatac who collected 19 markers, nine boards, three dimes, and one steal.

It was Quinto wo fueled the Knights strong start before Nambatac finished the job with his stead hands.

Of course, the two veterans were very much motivated as they needed a win to keep in step with Jose Rizal University and San Sebastian College-Recoletos for the last two playoff berths.

As it turns out, there was a more personal reason for their inspired play. “Oo nga pala, yung game pala namin ngayon, para kay coach Bob Lotuaco who just passed away last Wednesday,” Nambatac told reporters in the post-game conference.

As a one-time assistant coach for the Letran Squires, Lotuaco guided the growth of then-high school standouts Nambatac and then Quinto.

He passed away after a battle with cancer at the age of 51.

Clearly, Lotuaco left an impact. “Very, very close siya sa amin. Siyempre, naging mentor na rin namin,” Nambatac said.

Asked about the biggest lesson imparted to him by Lotuaco, Nambatac answered, “Lagi niyang sinasabi sa amin na NEGU – ‘Never Ever Give Up.’ Siya yung type na coach na positive siya all the way and hindi niya shine-share yung negative.”

He then continued, “He’s a cancer survivor din kasi so lagi niyang sinasabi sa amin na ‘Never Ever Give Up’ kasi kahit siya mismo nakipagsapalaran, nakipaglaban, at nalampasan yun.”

That lesson has been imprinted on the minds of Nambatac so much so that he and his former teammates had t-shirts made. “Nakakatuwa kasi nag-iwan siya nang napakagandang message. Siya naman talaga yung example na ‘Never Ever Give Up,’” he said.

Those t-shirts were worn by Nambatac, Quinto, Jerrick Balanza, and Tommy Gedaria – all former Squires turned Knights and all guided in one way or another by Lotuaco.

Quinto echoed the same sentiment. “Nakaka-miss na wala na siya, pero nagpapasalamat lang talaga ako kasi sobrang dami niyang natulong sa amin,” he said.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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