Close friends in real life, Julia Barretto and Joshua Garcia didn't have to work too hard to once again show off their developing onscreen chemistry for an episode of "Maalaala Mo Kaya."
On Saturday, the pair drew praise from viewers for their portrayal of teens whose love is tested when one of them is stricken with cancer.
Barretto played Aika, whose fear of being heartbroken became the least of her concerns when she was diagnosed with leukemia. She soon met John (Garcia), who held a grim view that life is short and that anyone can die at any given moment.
Together, they tried to get past individual and collective tribulations, whether it be Aika's reluctance to love because she dreads the day she would die and break her partner's heart, or John's patience and loyalty being tested.
In a shock and cruel twist, however, it turned out that John died in an accident while Aika finished her treatment and is now in remission.
After the episode, fans were quick to applaud the two young stars for doing justice to emotionally charged scenes such as Aika finding out about John's accident.
Their names immediately shot to the top of the country's trending topics list on Twitter, with many now convinced that their widely praised performance on the Metro Manila Film Festival entry "Vince & Kath & James" wasn't a fluke.
"Maraming salamat sa lahat ng nanood. Mahal na mahal ko kayo!! Sana may natutunan kayo kina Aika at John!" wrote Garcia shortly after the episode aired.
For her part, Barretto posted a photo with Garcia on her Instagram account and quoted one of the lines of her character: "It's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. That was for you Aika and John. Maraming salamat."