Batiller refuses to go down without a fight

Already disappointed with University of the East’s failure to reach the Final Four round in the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tourney, guard Bonbon Batiller made sure the Red Warriors won’t let an opportunity to salvage some measure of pride slip away.

That’s why the 5-foot-11 guard refused to heed the call of team officials, returned back to the court and shook off the effects of his nasty fall in the first half as he helped also-ran UE get back at University of the Philippines on Sunday 80-67 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

Batiller, coming off the bench this time, game-high tying 14 points, five of them coming in the final frame, on top of three rebounds and a steal while helping UE stop a four-game bleeding and improve its record to 3-9 overall.

“Gusto ko talaga makatulong sa team para manalo kami dahil wala talaga, sobrang down kami sa season na ‘to,” he told sports scribes, still feeling numbness on his right hip.

“Masakit pa pero tiniis ko lang, naglaro lang ako. Sabi ko nga, basta maglaro lang ako nang maayos. Sa palagay ko, kaya ko naman ‘yung sakit,” Batiller continued.

While the Red Warriors have failed to live up to expectations, Batiller stuck to the positives, hoping they could earn another confidence-building victory over defending champion Far Eastern U on Wednesday.

“Sabi sa amin ni Manong (coach Derrick Pumaren) na dapat laruin namin ang laro namin, at dapat tapusin namin ang season na may respeto pa rin ang mga team sa amin dahil alam naman namin na kaya namin ngayong season, pero wala talaga,” he said.

Following the injury scare, Batiller was stretchered off the court straight into their dugout, but his resilient character came to the fore.

“‘Pag bagsak ko sobrang sakit talaga, hindi kayang makatayo. ‘Pag pasok sa dugout, tinatanong ako kung kaya ko, sabi ko kaya ko, tiniis ko, babalik ako, pinilit ko,” he said. – By Jerome Lagunzad