May 24, 2024

PBA: NorthPort activates Zavier Lucero ahead of NLEX clash

PBA: NorthPort activates Zavier Lucero ahead of NLEX clash
The UP Fighting Maroons gave Lucero an emotional sendoff back in 2022. | Photo (c) UAAP

It was December 19, 2022 when Zavier Lucero last stepped on the court for an official game.

It was Game 3 of the UAAP Season 85 men's basketball finals, and the Ateneo Blue Eagles virtually had the title in the bag.

But with 0.7 of a second remaining, UP decided to pay respect to Zavier Lucero and allowed him to take the technical free throw.

It was enough to make everyone give the Fighting Maroon a standing ovation. It was the final shot of his collegiate career, painfully cut by a knee injury in Game 2.

  

“We lost but if you watched the clip I was just smiling because I got to leave on my own terms," he said after that match. “For me, to be able to get my flowers so to speak and be able to be out there with the UP community one more time is a special moment for me.”

[ALSO READ: Find out what Lucero was thinking as he was taking his final shot in the UAAP

The injury didn't put a stop to his basketball career though, as the NorthPort Batang Pier took a chance on him, taking him fifth overall in the 2023 PBA Draft.

Lucero missed the season-opening PBA Commissioner's Cup, but he is targeting the Philippine Cup for his debut.

“For me, with an injury like this, you see too often people rush it and reinjure themselves. I have time to be able to make sure I do this right, so hopefully, I get to do this only one time,” Lucero pointed out during an interview with Playitright TV last September. “I’d hate to do it again. But, yeah, the plan for me is to not rush, make sure I’m a hundred percent, and I can hit the ground running.”

[ALSO READ: NorthPort rookie Zavier Lucero to miss PBA Commissioner’s Cup, targets All-Filipino debut

After Lucero did his rehab in the United States, the Batang Pier activated their rookie on Thursday. John Amores was relegated to the Injured/Reserve list.

That means Lucero could see action on March 1, Friday, when the NorthPort Batang Pier takes on the NLEX Road Warriors at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The 7:30 p.m. game will be aired on RPTV, PBA Rush, and the Pilipinas Live app.

(With reports from Jan Ballesteros, Martin Bolima)