Perez dedicates Grand Prix win, MVP award to deceased brother

Perez dedicates Grand Prix win, MVP to deceased brother
I didn’t share it with my team. I just smiled and tried to be strong because I know we had this opportunity to win this game -- Venezuelan import Maria Jose Perez on keeping the death of her brother from her teammates on the eve of 2017 PSL Grand Prix Finals Game 3.

F2 Logistics ace setter Kim Fajardo saw Venezuelan import Maria Jose Perez open on the left side.

The reinforcement soared and smashed a thunderous kill. Petron’s Mika Reyes and Rhea Dimaculangan went up simultaneously to erect a wall but came a bit too late.

American import Hillary Hurley was the Blaze Spikers’ last line of defense but Perez’s missile slipped off her hands as the Cargo Movers celebrated their impressive come-from-behind series win to conquer the 2017 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix in the deciding Game 3 Saturday at the MOA Arena.

Perez joined her team in celebration.

She’s now a champion and was named Conference Most Valuable Player.

Perez did her best to win for the team.

This despite a searing pain in her heart brought by a sad news she received the day before from halfway across the world.

Her older brother, Daniel, passed away Friday after a bout with cancer.        

Knowing that they needed to stay focused on the game, Perez chose to keep the news from her teammates. Confiding only to skipper Cha Cruz, who then told head coach Ramil De Jesus. 

“Very professional ni Maria kasi kakamatay lang ng oldest brother niya kahapon dahil sa cancer," said De Jesus during the post-game interview after F2 Logistics captured the crown in a 25-20, 25-19, 20-25, 25-18, win over the Blaze Spikers that completed their comeback from a 0-1 series deficit.        

“Sobrang saludo ako, di niya sinasabi sa team, di ko nga alam pano nya nadadala,” De Jesus said. “Kasi di umiiyak, di malungkot, di nadala sa performance. Saludo talaga ako sa kanya.”

The 2008 Beijing Olympian scored 24 points all from kills, averaging 21 markers in the Finals.

“I didn’t think about my loss I know I have a big responsibility with my team,” said Perez, a woman of strength and high professionalism. “I didn’t share it with my team. I just smiled and tried to be strong because I know we had this opportunity to win this game.”

“I don’t want my teammates to be saddened with my loss,” she added. 

Perez’s voice cracked and held her tears back during the interview as she dedicated the win and MVP to her brother.

“I was thinking about that,” she said. “I know that’s the only that will make my family happy.”

Perez will return to Venezuela before flying to Utah to play in another tournament.

Asked if she’ll return next year, Perez said that she wants another run with the Cargo Movers.

“We have talked about it (going back to F2). I really want (to come back) but I haven't talked to the management,” said Perez. “I think after this we will decide and we will see my final decision.”

 

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles

 

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