Defending champion National University was on the verge of falling into a 0-4 hole to start the UAAP 78 Men’s Basketball Tournament with their opponents ahead by one and the play head coach Eric Altamirano designed during the timeout going nowhere.
In what proved to be the decisive play last Sunday, Bulldogs clutchman Gelo Alolino was shackled and had to give up the ball to Alfred Aroga. Never known for his shotmaking, the Cameroonian center – yes, all six-foot eight-inches of him – posted up and hit a perfect fadeaway over the outstretched arms of Karim Abdul.
The unexpected yet nonetheless beautiful shot proved to be all the winning margin NU needed for their first victory in the season.
Even if it ultimately went down as the game-winner, Altamirano still had to voice out his dislike for the choice of the shot. “I didn’t like that last shot of Alfred. We always tell him to stay away from those shots,” he started.
He was quick to add, however, talking about his ward’s willingness to step up to the challenge, “But that was all heart for him. He wants to win.”
Even the Bulldog big had to admit it wasn’t the best of shots. “Coach told me to attack the basket,” Aroga shared lightheartedly, referring to the instructions of Altamirano during the timeout.
The Cameroonian even went as far as agreeing that much luck was involved for the shot launched by a center who was way outside his comfort zone and over the outstretched arms of an above-average defender. “Karim is a good defender. I was just lucky to make the shot,” he said.
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