Koko Pingoy's best game in UAAP 81 was all for his late best friend

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Oct 20, 2018 06:27 PM
Pingoy's best game in UAAP 81 was for his late best friend
Koko Pingoy's best game of the season thus far fell on the same day as the first-year death anniversary of his best friend

With Adamson University hanging on to a one-point lead on Saturday, Sean Manganti hit a corner three to quell the uprising of De La Salle University.

Following a defensive stop, Koko Pingoy made good on his own triple to effectively put the game away for the Soaring Falcons.

In Pingoy’s mind, that dagger triple had some much-welcome help from a higher being. “Nung pumasok yung three points ko, sabi ko, ‘Renz, salamat,’” he shared with reporters post-game.

The third-year playmaker was referring to his best friend Renz Barcelona who unfortunately passed away on this day a year ago.

And seeing that this was the first-year death anniversary of his best friend, Pingoy dedicated not only the dagger triple, but the entire game to Barcelona. “Para sa’yo ito, Renz Barcelona,” he said.

Indeed, the 5-foot-8 guard seemed inspired all throughout all the way to a six-point, six-assist, and five-rebound performance – by far, his best game in the season.

And even in the post-win interview, he remained pretty much affected, getting goosebumps more than a few times. “Ang nangyari, namatay siya dahil sa food poisoning. Sobrang devastating nung nangyari,” he said.

Recalling the moment he learned about Barcelona’s death, Pingoy again got goosebumps. As he put it, “Second round against UE yun last year, after ng game, sabi ng kapatid niya, ‘Kuya, wala na si kuya Renz.’ Sobrang iyak ko nung pumunta ako sa ospital.”

He then continued, “Gumuho yung mundo ko. Sobrang sakit na ‘di ko ma-take.”

Of course, a year later, the court general only admitted that he is still missing his late best friend.

After all, Barcelona was apparently one of the reasons why Adamson felt like home. “Sa Adamson kami nagkakilala tapos naging close talaga. Lahat ng gusto niya, gusto ko rin tapos magkasama kami kahit saan,” he said.

He then continued, “Lagi siyang nanonood tapos sinasabi niya, ‘Atabs, galingan mo ha.’ Tapos kung matatalo naman, ine-encourage pa rin niya ako na sinasabi, ‘Okay lang yan. Bawi ka lang.’”

That is exactly why even after the Soaring Falcons’ first win against the Green Archers in three years, Pingoy will not be celebrating his team in celebration.

Instead, he will go to Paco, Manila to share a moment with his late best friend. “’Di na nga ako sasama sa dinner kasi pupuntahan ko talaga siya ngayon,” he said.


Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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