MANILA, Philippines – Maria Jose Perez left it all out on the court for the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers in a 4-set win against the Petron Blaze Spikers in a do-or-die Game 3 of the 2017 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix finals. But few people know she was carrying a weight heavier than bringing her team a championship.
Perez lost her oldest brother, Daniel, to cancer Friday, December 15, and to some athletes who have also lost their loved ones, it is a tall order to perform at the highest level while grieving.
But that did not stop the Venezuelan import from doing what she does best as she scattered a team-high 24 points to help the Cargo Movers in clinching their first Grand Prix title.
“I just wanted to work my thing, don’t think about my loss. I know I have a big responsibility with my team so I tried to share with my team a smile and be strong because I knew we had the opportunity to win this game,” said Perez, her voice breaking.
“I didn’t want to bring sadness but to bring happiness and just give my best for my team.”
F2 Logistics head coach Ramil de Jesus was all praises for her prized reinforcement, lauding her professionalism multiple times.
De Jesus, who only knew about Perez’s loss on the morning of Game 3, Saturday, said that the former Olympian did not want her teammates to know about what happened.
“Sobrang saludo ako sa batang ‘yun. Hindi niya sinasabi, ayaw niyang malaman ng team. Hindi ko nga alam kung paano niya dinadala ‘yung sarili niya dahil hindi mo makikita ‘yung reaction na umiiyak o nalungkot o apektado ‘yung performance sa practice o dito sa game. Saludo talaga ako sa kaniya,” said the multi-titled tactician.
(I really salute that kid. She did not want the team to know. I cannot fathom how she carries herself because you will not see her crying or sad or her game affected during practice or game. I really salute her.)
Perez was hailed the Grand Prix Most Valuable Player and said she dedicates her personal accolade and championship to her brother and family.
Perez plans to return to Venezuela after her trip to Utah and expressed her desire to return for the Cargo Movers.
“We have talked about it (going back). I really want but I haven’t talked to the management. I think after this we will decide.” – Rappler.com
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