NCAA: JM Bravo holds head high despite Lyceum's Final Four exit | Inquirer Sports

NCAA: JM Bravo holds head high despite Lyceum’s Final Four exit

/ 09:06 PM December 01, 2023

Lyceum Pirates' JM Bravo.

Lyceum Pirates’ JM Bravo. –MARLO CUETO/

MANILA, Philippines—Lyceum’s JM Bravo exited the locker room to a different scene than he is used to but he welcomed it with open arms.

Fans, evidently from the San Beda side with red and white jerseys, approached Bravo to take pictures with him.


“Bravo, pa-picture kahit kalaban mo kami! (Bravo, let’s take a picture even if you faced us),” said a family of three to the lanky forward.


Bravo could’ve just kept his head down and swallowed every bit of grief and despair after seeing his team blow its twice-to-beat advantage at the hands of San Beda , which in turn grabbed the last NCAA Season 99 Finals seat.

Yet, he smiled and gingerly walked his way to the spectators and granted them their pictures like he didn’t just watch his Pirates crumble.

What’s more impressive is, during the third quarter of their season-ending loss, Bravo went down with a bad case of cramps that kept him sidelined until the final minutes of the game.

“What I thought was, just because I had bad cramps doesn’t mean I should quit. I even talked to the coaches and told them to assist me because I really wanted to get back in the game,” said Bravo after the Red Lions’  82-72 victory.

“Those cramps hurt so bad it even reached my thighs. I almost couldn’t walk but I told myself I’d still give my best, whatever happens.”


In a valiant effort, the 6-foot-2 swingman went down swinging in his final game of the season with a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Lyceum Pirates after losing in the NCAA Final Four.

Lyceum Pirates after losing in the NCAA Final Four. –MARLO CUETO/

Thankfully for the Lyceum community, their new beloved stretch forward still has two years to go with the Intramuros-based squad.

And in those two upcoming years, Bravo is set to be a cornerstone for coach Gilbert Malabanan.

So when he entered the dugout after the buzzer of the stinging loss, he took on the role of morale booster.

And he was civil about it too, crediting the outgoing squad leader Enoch Valdez, who is on his way to the PBA.

“I told them not to be disheartened because there’s still next season. Maybe next year, God has a plan for us to reach the Finals and get a championship. I also told Enoch good luck with his career and next journey. That’s really for him.”

Valdez will enter the professional league with NLEX with a huge final collegiate game under his belt, finishing with 28 points and seven boards.

The former UCSAA MVP was also the one who consoled his fellow players during Lyceum’s alma mater hymn.

With tears being shed left and right, Bravo was the first to give out an embrace to his hurting comrades and along with those hugs were huge words of encouragement.

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Words along the lines of: we still have next season.

“My teammates had a hard time especially with all that happened. In the last two minutes we were so emotional because we thought maybe this isn’t for us but we’ll bounce back next season,” he said.

TAGS: Lyceum Pirates, NCAA Season 99

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