Meet Aljun Melecio: UAAP Juniors' MVP (and ladies' man)
Barry Viloria on Mar 04, 2016 06:43 PM
He may not have won the championship trophy, but the future already looks bright for the promising Archer. (Photos by Vyn Radovan)
See, compared to the airy, playboy-ish images of jocks many are familiar with, Aljun Melecio of the DLSZ Juniors Archers and the league’s MVP is a shy edition. The 17-year-old baller speaks in short phrases; his politeness, apparent. He actually gets awkward talking about the girls at school he likes. Say, the mystery girl at last week’s post-UAAP Juniors Finals Game 2 antic, whose name he finally drops.
“Her name’s Kitty de Leon.” He then describes her as a companion and how their close relationship has grown over time—you know, puppy love. “Mahiyain sya. Nasa graduation committee sya sa school. Classmate ko sya and friends lang kami dati. Tapos naging close din kami, until, ayun, nagkakayaan na sa ball.”
He then laughs while reminding us of his then-live un-MVP-like foolery, “Oo nga, eh, na-miss ko yung unang dalawang shots. Syempre, nagulat ako.”
Making of a hero
The Junior Archers might have succumbed to the NU Bullpups in the championships, and Melecio might have left his last year without the trophy in hand. (Except maybe for a trophy girl? Kidding.) But it seems we have already seen a preview of the life of who could be the next biggest star in the UAAP Seniors.
More than being a ladies’ man, the recent Aldin Ayo recruit for DLSU bears in him so much potential. Melecio was born and raised in Valencia, Bukidnon. He took up tennis fervently, until his dad (also a former varsity player in his youth) encouraged him to enter a basketball clinic one summer when he was eight.
“Challenging sya, marami akong nakakalaban sa court compared sa tennis. Tsaka may team bonding. Nag-enjoy lang talaga ako,” he describes his start in basketball.
Young man of the hour
And that was it, Melecio then switched sports. In fourth grade, he joined the basketball varsity team where he was the youngest. He remembers he was favored on the team for being “mabilis and madiskarte”—modesty aside, of course.
Melecio then changed schools when he entered sixth grade, at the Lourdes School of Mandaluyong. He later entered DLSZ for high school following his older brother Alec, who also played for Zobel. There, he would become, as predicted, a star. He was hailed this season’s MVP with 78.9286 total SPs; and averaged 22.7 points including his season-high 42 points over Ateneo on the opening game day, 7.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 2.3 steals.
“Sobrang saya, kasi di lahat nakakakuha ng chance na ganito. Di ko din masyado in-expect kasi marami ding magaling na kalaban from NU,” he says of his recent plum.
Before this season, Melecio was part of the Season 77 Mythical Five. He was also MVP at both the Filoil Flying V juniors and the JR. NBA program.
A true ladies’ man
What other girls might find interesting about Melecio? How hardworking he is as a student-athlete. He’s already up at 6:15 in the morning for school, attends class until 5:30 in the afternoon, and then proceeds to training lasting up to 8 in the evening. That’s what everyday is for Melecio. Busy his days are, he sometimes can’t help but to ditch his books and just rest.
“Kasi pagod na ko,” he explains, with a laugh. Although, he still keeps watch over his academics. “Sakto lang naman ako. My favorite subject is English—parang relaxed lang sya and di kagaya ng Math and Science na may pressure and memorization.”
This good boy image also translates in the Melecio household, he claims with a laugh.
“Mabait talaga ako. Di ka gumagawa ng kalokohan. Relaks ka lang. I really play basketball for my parents.”
It seems that in the long term, Melecio has got his eyes on the prize (he eventually plans to play for Ginebra, being a “die-hard fan” since grade school). For now, though, he’s set his eyes on another thing, a girl--one he’ll be bringing to a ball on March 13.