Eriko dela Cruz
I was in Grade 6 when I first saw you play. You were fresh off dropping 30 points on your rookie year… IN THE FINALS– Against a stacked La Salle Green Archers. In your second year, you were the clear cut starting point guard for the Blue Eagles contending for the title. Things didn’t go your way in the middle of the season, hurting your wrist, sidelining you from the final four. When you made your comeback you helped lead Ateneo to its first title in 14 years. You were so good that I even had your jersey and wanted a pair of the Nike VC 1s and the Zoom Flight Turbine.
I was in high school when you played your last game in the Blue and White. It was against– again, La Salle. You carried that Ateneo team on your strong unbreakable back, but ultimately came a bit short in the second half. You were frustrated, you were hurting, and I felt it too. I knew however, that this was temporary. I knew that you would be a winner in every level you played in.
You won with Harbour Centre, with probably the cream of the crop of college recruits in the land that time. You won with Alaska, where you won Finals MVP with Cyrus Baguio. You won against Korea for the first time in ages with Gilas, on our home floor no less. You won with Ginebra, ending the Kangkong tag that plagued the organization for what felt like a lifetime. You battled it out against the best, whether it be in the Philippines or internationally.
Now, it’s time for a different, much bigger battle.
The basketball world was shocked when news broke out that you were diagnosed with Stage III Colon cancer. As a wannabe doctor, I know that this type of cancer gets diagnosed in the latter stages. But as someone who followed your career since college, I know what kind of heart you have. I know that you will give your heart and soul in beating this. Know that your family, friends and fans will be with you every single step of the way. More than touching a basketball again, I hope you get to touch more lives with your generosity, kindness, and fighting spirit.
One Big Fight, LA. Never Say Die.
Leave a Reply