Obet Javier took in the glory of a second championship in three years, hugging his players, slapping fives with his coaches, and answering questions for the television audience.
You could barely tell that Javier had just lost the love of his life.
The Lady Chiefs head coach had been like this all throughout their Finals series against the San Sebastian Lady Stags: stern, calm, and collected while guiding his team past the juggernaut of the Lady Stags and Grethcel Soltones.
But, right in the middle of their buildup for the Finals, Javier’s wife, Amy Marie, passed away due to lung cancer in Spain.
While most people would crumble in similar situations, Javier continued to push forward.
“Pinaghirapan namin ‘yung tao na ito ngayon,” Javier told reporters after the game. “Maganda rin ‘yung motivation namin kasi sabi ng mga players ko, ‘Coach, ang unang-unang motivation namin is para kay Tita.'”
“Nagpapasalamat ako sa players ko, kasi sa ganoong bagay, nalaman ko na talagang dinamayan nila ako.”
“Sa pinagdaanan ni Coach, ayun po talaga ang motivation talaga namin,” said Jovielyn Prado, the Finals MVP.
“Si Coach po kasi, sobrang tatag. Halos hindi namin alam na may pinagdadaanan po siya. Noong nalaman po namin, nag-go hard po talaga kami, para hindi niya na po kami intindihin. Ayun po ang ginawa namin.”
“Hindi ko po talaga paano i-express kasi sa game pa lang naiiyak na ako for coach,” expressed Arellano team captain Ria Sante.
“Hindi ko po alam kung paano kinaya ni coach ‘yun. Kaya sobrang thankful namin sa kanya.”
Javier can finally mourn.
“Naramdaman ko talaga na nandoon siya para igabay kami, Game One pa lang. Alam kong masaya siya para sa amin,” closed Javier.