NCAA 95: Balanza's bday gift? Good health a year after brain injury

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 06, 2019 03:13 PM
Balanza's bday gift? Good health a year after brain injury
(Photo by Josh Albelda)

Jerrick Balanza is celebrating another year of life today.

The graduating guard turned 23-years-old by dropping 26 points in 8-of-13 shooting in just 24 minutes of play in Colegio de San Juan de Letran's decimation of College of St. Benilde, Friday at Cuneta Astrodome.

The big game is just the latest in a solid season that, thus far, has seen him post per game counts of 17.4 points, 3.6 assists, and 3.0 rebounds.

And all of that proved that Balanza has made it all the way back from the brain injury that threatened both his career and his life.

Almost a year ago, he underwent surgery to take out a brain tumor and missed the Knights' last 10 games in Season 94.

Now, he is nothing but glad to share that he has moved forward from that scare. "Sobrang saya ko lang talaga kasi binigyan ako ng isang taon pa," he said.

Even better, that scare has only taught him to make the most of anything and everything he has. "Ngayon, mina-maximize ko lang lahat nang meron ako," he said.

And for Letran head coach Bonnie Tan, there is nowhere to go but forward for their team captain. "Jerrick played for 23 minutes and scored 26 points today. Sinasabi ko sa kanya parati, yung mga pangaral sa kanya, wag niya personalin at pag-aralan lang niya para matutunan yung mga corrections," he said.

He then continued, "Ewan ko lang kung birthday lang niya kasi ngayon, pero I'm positive na Jerrick will blossom sa year na 'to."

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