NCAA: Jerrick Balanza was Letran's lucky charm against LPU

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Oct 05, 2018 07:52 PM
NCAA: Jerrick Balanza was Letran's lucky charm against LPU
For the first time since his brain surgery, Jerrick Balanza was with Letran during an NCAA Season 94 game

Bong Quinto was being down on himself as he was in foul trouble in the early part of Colegio de San Juan de Letran’s matchup with Lyceum of the Philippines University on Friday.

And then, his spirits got lifted.

“Sobra yung frustration ko kasi yun nga, nakaupo ako sa bench, wala akong matulong tapos may narinig akong boses na ‘Bong,’” he told reporters post-game. “Tapos pagtingin ko, si Jerrick [Balanza] pala. Parang nag-iba yung feeling ko kasi sumaya ako na nakasama ulit yung teammate na matagal nang hindi nakasama.”

Balanza was with the Knights inside the venue for the first time since he had surgery to remove a brain tumor a month ago.

Of course, his teammates were nothing but inspired by his presence.

“Nung una rin, ‘di ko napansin si Jerrick tapos bigla rin niya akong tinawag kanina. Bigla akong nabuhayan ng dugo,” big man Larry Muyang shared. “Sabi nga ni Bong, yung isang kapatid namin, nandyan, nanonood kaya binigay talaga namin yung best namin.”

Letran did just that and ultimately, that led to a big-time win for Letran over erstwhile Lyceum of the Philippines University.

Without a doubt, this is now their biggest win since their championship in 2015.

Though he was unable to help inside the court, Balanza still found a way to be of help off of it. “Ang plano ko talaga, bibiglain ko sila na nandito ako at kumpleto tayong lalaban sa Lyceum,” he said.

From the pleasant surprise of seeing him to celebrating with them after the win, Balanza undoubtedly lit a fire under the Knights. “Wala talagang nakakaalam na pupunta ako, pero pinilit ko talaga si doc nung Tuesday. Sabi ko sa kanya, ‘Doc, andito ako para mangulit, baka pwede mo na ako bigyan ng clearance kasi gusto ko na talaga makasama mga kapatid ko,’” he shared.

He then continued, “Buti naman sabi ni doc, ‘Pwede ka naman na lumabas basta sunurin mo pa rin yung tamang pag-inom ng gamot mo.”

Now, Balanza has the feeling of a big-time win to help him out with his recovery – a recovery that has only been going well. “Okay naman na ako. Wala na naman akong nararamdaman. Sobrang bilis ng recovery ko dahil maraming nagmamalasakit at nagdadasal,” he said.

He then continued, “Sobrang thankful and blessed ko lang talaga.”

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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