April 14, 2024

Tell 'em: Graduating stars on making memorable final hurrah in UAAP Season 86

Art by Royce Nicdao

The UAAP never fails to bring different storylines to the table. One of the more recognized ones is the final playing year of graduating students across the eight universities.

As they step onto the court for the last time in their collegiate careers, they carry with them the weight of years of dedication and hard work. Their final season is not just about competition—it's a farewell tour, a chance to leave a lasting legacy for them and their respective teams.

One Sports spoke with four seniors before the tournament and they shared their thoughts on their so-called “Last Dance.”

Evan Nelle - Guard, De La Salle Green Archers: “We fell short (in Season) 84, (we were) full of injuries (in Season) 85. It wasn't what we wanted, but right now, we're all just trying to stay healthy, trying to trust our teammates. Our camaraderie is better. Amuyan namin sa court is way better.”

“Hopefully, we get the gold. Hopefully, we get the finish that we want. Hopefully, we (get what we) expect from this team. Hopefully, we just win. That's just it. That's what we're all looking for, nothing else.”

RELATED STORY: Evan Nelle has harsh self-review despite near triple-double in La Salle's win over FEU

Jerom Lastimosa - Guard, Adamson Soaring Falcons: “Of course, gusto ko bigyan ng trophy 'yung Adamson bago man lang ako umalis dito para sa susunod na panahon, hindi nila ako makakalimutan kasi may binigay na ako sa kanila.”

“Lahat ng gusto nila is gagawin ko para lang makuha nila 'yung gusto nila.”

CJ Cansino - Forward, UP Fighting Maroons: “Sa akin, 'yung gusto ko lang na maging mark ko is hope. Kahit anong challenges na dumating sa buhay mo—injury man 'yan, off the court man 'yan, basta kahit anong challenges, ituloy mo lang 'yung trabaho mo, ituloy mo lang ‘yung pangarap mo.”

“Kunyari may bata, gusto ko (sabihin niya) na: 'Si CJ nga na-ACL dalawang beses pero nakabalik.' Ganun 'yung gusto ko maging mark sa UAAP na hindi hadlang 'yung injury, hindi hadlang kung anoman 'yung dumating na problema sa buhay basta mangarap ka lang and magtrabaho ka lang.”

RELATED STORY: CJ Cansino has one wish in UAAP Season 86 as stacked UP trounces Adamson

Ljay Gonzales - Guard, FEU Tamaraws: “This is it, one last dance na. Lagi kong sinasabi sa akin, hindi na ako babalik dito sa college career ko kasi last year ko na. Bibigay ko lahat ng makakaya ko, bibigay ko lahat ng best ko para sa team and para rin sa FEU community."

“Sana makaisa kami ngayong season para maramdaman nila 'yung legacy na sinasabi. Sana makapasok kami ulit sa Final Four and bonus na lang siguro sa'min kung makapasok kami sa finals. Sabi nga nila, bilog ang bola, so let's see na lang sa UAAP kung ano 'yung resulta.”

RELATED STORY: Hoops alert: 5 must-watch dates in first round of UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament

Catch all the UAAP Season 86 basketball action live on One Sports, the UAAP Varsity Channel, or the Pilipinas Live app.

(With reports from Julio Sampedro, One Sports Digital)