Jerom Lastimosa gets high praise as UAAP career ends
MANILA, Philippines — Jerom Lastimosa may have emerged as one of the best guards in collegiate basketball but Adamson coach Nash Racela believes the guard’s lasting legacy goes beyond representing his school.
“If you will look at what happened in the past two years, I think it’s not just the value that he brings to the school but it’s the way that he values his school, which not everybody will do,” said Racela after their 70-48 loss to Ateneo in the playoff for the last Final Four berth in the Season 86 men’s basketball tournament on Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena.
“People talk about Jerom having offers but he chose to stay with Adamson this year. Despite his injury, he still chose to play for Adamson. Other people, they don’t see that as something admirable, but it is something that really we appreciate, not just us, but the whole Adamson community. I’m sure the whole UAAP appreciates what he did,” he added.
Lastimosa decided to stay with the Falcons amid offers from overseas clubs before he suffered a partial ACL tear in practice. Despite his injury, he fulfilled his promise to play in the second round only to aggravate it in their game against University of the Philippines.
Ruled out with a full ACL tear in his left knee, Lastimosa wished to delay his surgery and stay with the Falcons until their final game of the season.
The graduating guard got his wish and even played two minutes in the playoff including a buzzer-beating triple to end his UAAP career. He was emotional when singing the Adamson hymn one last time.
Racela hopes Lastimosa’s commitment and loyalty will influence other collegiate players.
“Sana moving forward yung mga bata makita yun and sana ganun din kasi they represent the UAAP and ngayong tapos na siya masasabi ko na nirepresent niya nang maayos na maayos ang UAAP at nirerepresent niya nang maayos na maayos ang Adamson,” he said.
Lastimosa, who played five years for Adamson, said the best thing he learned in the UAAP is embracing the school’s community and offering every game to them.
“I learned how to love the fans because the UAAP fans made me feel that they really love me. I am super thankful ako and blessed with their treatment. I am thankful also to all the schools who gave me an opportunity to play here in the UAAP,” he said in Filipino.
Lastimosa believes that the remaining Falcons have what it takes to fill in his big shoes just like they did this season, where he missed most of the games due to his injury and almost made it to the Final Four only to lose the playoff.
“All of them can be King Falcons. That’s our culture in Adamson, we want everyone to step up every game,” said Lastimosa, whose jersey No. 7 was retired by the school before the season started.