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Zav Lucero enjoys final moments with UP despite injury, UAAP final loss


Zavier Lucero Malick Diouf James Spencer UP Fighting Maroons UAAP

Malick Diouf, left, Zav Lucero, center, and James Spencer share a moment after UP’s loss to Ateneo in Game 3 of the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball final.

MANILA, Philippines – University of the Philippines graduate star Zavier Lucero may not be able to complete his final UAAP season due to an ACL tear in his left knee but he ended his college career with records. Great thoughts can help him on his recovery journey.

The 6-foot-6 swinger, who sustained a non-contact knee injury in Game 2, was eliminated from the mortal final against Ateneo but he still chose to wear the costume and join his teammates. themselves, who also paid their respects to him by booting in shirts with “ZAV” printed on the front and Lucero with his number 22 jersey on the back.

Lucero entered the penalty shootout before the game and even scored one last time, taking UP’s technical free throw with 0.7 tenths of a second left before his college time ended in defeat. lost 75-68 to Ateneo in Game 3 of the UAAP Season 85 Men’s Basketball Tournament Finals on Monday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“[We] Lucero said. “I have had great relationships with the people here, regardless of whether we win the championship or not, that is what I will cherish most in my heart, the relationships that I have created. out and obviously the UP community and all the love for me. I felt the same way here, not as successful as we would have liked, but certainly still a success.

UAAP player two and through the California State University Marine Academy admitted he wanted to get on the field one last time, something coach Goldwin Monteverde gave him while Ateneo was on the verge of reclaiming lost glory.

It may not have been the outcome and ending he wanted, but Lucero feels the support of the 21,814 fans at the Big Dome gave him some final satisfaction. at UAAP.

“I am very happy to be on the court again. I don’t like the way I think I’m going to leave everything, the plan is whether we win or lose, I really want to sign up for the last time and just to hear the crowd support and UP community, ” I said. “It certainly warmed my heart. It is also something I will remember for the rest of my life. I am very happy that I did.”

The legendary Season 84 member, who was a member of the historic Fighting Maroons that ended a 36-year title drought last May, wishes he had more time with UP.

“It’s amazing. I can’t put into words, I think, coming to this, I didn’t know it was going to be this kind of experience. I wish it had more recognition around the world because you know. See, even as a Filipino, I didn’t really know about it,” he said. I will definitely cherish this experience for the rest of my life.”

The Filipino-American winger also praised his teammates for staying on the brave side, preventing a slow start in the first inning even though they were unable to come back and claim the second title. after one year.

“I think the way our boys fought today says a lot about the nature of our team. It’s easy to lie down when you’re 20, to start the second half, so the guys that were on the floor and our whole team stuck with it and showed the heart that we showed. from this time to that time. But yeah, it sure sucks,” Lucero said.

For their part, Monteverde believes UP will not reach the Finals for the contiguous seasons in 2022 without Lucero.

“For me, Zavier has a huge impact on our team in every game whether he scores big or not,” said the UP coach. “One of his strong points is the way he works hard. His counter-attacks, keeping the ball alive, created chances for our team. Impact wise in those two years, we wouldn’t have gotten here without him.”

Lucero is about to undergo surgery and he vows to come back stronger and prove himself again wherever he plays next.

“I have to get well and then, to be honest, I’m not sure. Obviously, things go bad when you go to rehab like me but proving that is nothing new to me,” Lucero said. “I’m going to get well and be in front of some teams and I’m going to prove it again and whoever it is, just give me a chance and I’m sure I’ll do it right.”

Monteverde said the entire team and UP community will be with Lucero as he recovers.

“We are really going to support him with that not only in surgery but also mentally. We told him that surgery doesn’t stop here and whatever his goals in career, we will be there to support him,” he said.

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