GRADUATION YEARBOOK: In the end, dad and cum laude grad Gallarza’s still a winner

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 19, 2015 04:43 PM
UP’s Gallarza: I promised my parents to graduate with honors
UP FIGHT! JR Gallarza has bigger things awaiting him after graduation - not just on the court.

After a 2-0 start that had the Diliman community wishing for the stars, the University of the Philippines spiraled downwards and won only once in the next 12 games to yet again finish in last place.

Still, it seemed like another disappointing season did not pain JR Gallarza all that much. Talking to reporters after him and his team wrapped up their season, the Fighting Maroons’ captain was bright and beaming.

And after he explained just why, well, why shouldn’t he be?

Along with being part of what he, the victory-starved Maroons, and the UP community feel is the only the dawn of their basketball program, Gallarza’s personal life is going along quite nicely. With his stint as an collegiate athlete now at an end, his time as a college student is also drawing to a close – and what a glorious close it will be.

As the UP leader shared, he’s still in the running to get honors in his impending graduation – definitely cum laude and still a chance for magna cum laude – just like he promised both himself and his parents.

After getting his degree, Gallarza then plans to move away from basketball and into a full-time role as a father to little Reinen.

The only bad thing about all of this for the UP community? Gallarza will be heading to Canada to fulfill this as he said, “I’m going home. I think it’s best for me to continue life. I’m just going to be a father when I head home.”

How are you feeling after playing your final UAAP game – a loss at the hands of UE?

I think it’s sweet, but I think the team made it all about the seniors instead of it being about the team. I’m really happy to be part of what we think is the new-look Maroons with our new management.

What will you miss most about being a Fighting Maroon?

Every time I see the boys smile – during the bonfire when we got the one win last year to break the losing streak, during the two wins this year.

What will you miss most about being a UP student?

I don’t really have any. UP student life is so hard. I made my parents a promise I was going to graduate with honors. It’s really about your goals and how you manage your time to achieve your goal.

What is the legacy you will be leaving behind to the Fighting Maroons?

I think it’s the fact that me, being a student-athlete, it’s possible to get good grades and be good at basketball as well.

What is your final message to the UP community?

Thank you. Every year, I see you guys growing with me. Thank you for growing with me and the team.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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