THEY followed what he said and won without him.
Injured Banuve Tab¡a¡kaucoro's words came true and Suva Grammar School coach Jone Delai conceded his contingent was not invincible as Marist Brothers' High School returned to the wining podium after five years.
Pacific sprint king Tabakaucoro broke the news of his withdrawal from the Fiji Finals, after pulling a hamstring, to his teammates just a day before the games.
Instead of discouraging the Red Fire squad, it inspired them to scoop the Fiji Finals boys' title, pipping arch-rivals SGS at the National Stadium in Suva yesterday.
MBHS grabbed 15 gold, seven silver and three bronze medals to deny Grammar from winning the secondary schools athletics finals for a sixth consecutive year ù a feat only achieved by the boys from Flagstaff from 1998 to 2003.
SGS settled for the second spot after collecting 12 gold, seven silver and three bronze medals.
In the girls' division, Adi Cakobau School won their 12th consecutive title after collecting nine gold, a silver and two bronze medals.
Suva Grammar came second with seven gold, five silver and two bronze medals.
Tabakaucoro, who holds the secondary schools 100 and 200 metre records, said his "brothers" achieved the dream he wanted to realise this year.
The Bau bullet is in his last year at MBHS and had earlier stated he wanted to win the title before leaving the school.
"When I broke the news to the team on Thursday that I wasn't going to run, they took it really well and it inspired them as well," Tabakaucoro said.
"I told them that this injury wasn't going to put them down and without me they would still win the title and that's exactly what they did."
"I mean not competing in the event was pretty disappointing but my 'brothers' came out and they performed and I take my hat off to them and the credit goes to them."
MBHS sprints coach Bola Tafou said the team spirit gave them the victory.
"When Banuve was out, people must realise that's only two gold medals and the team is fighting for 29 gold medals," the former national middle distance champion said.
"Their captain was out so they stood up and they showed their captain that they won it for him."
Grammar coach and former Pacific sprint king Delai said the day belonged to Marist but he assured the Grammarians they would come back fighting next year.
"I don't go around seeing the achievement. I live the moment and they (MBHS) were the good team on the day and they won," the national blue ribbon record holder said.
"You go down and you come back hard and we will come back fighting next year, that's for sure.
"I want to thank everybody for the support and especially to my athletes and parents for their support."
The win also sets a good platform for the MBHS Diamond Jubilee celebration to be held this year.