Aroga’s “hated shot” proves blessing in disguise for NU

Anthony Divinagracia on Sep 22, 2015 06:15 PM
Aroga’s “hated shot” proves blessing in disguise for NU
“Every time we go to the court and we don’t get a win I felt like I betrayed coach, my family, my teammates because they’re my brothers.” - Aroga

Alfred Aroga was out of his comfort zone.

Ogled and shackled away from the paint, NU’s barometer big man found himself measuring the arm of UST center Karim Abdul.

Trapped in the baseline with 18 seconds left and the Bulldogs down, 53-44, Aroga decided to fire away.

Nothing but net.

Call it fluke, or perhaps Eric Altamirano’s most hated Aroga shot of all time. But that dagger of a jumper was all the Bulldogs needed to chalk up their first victory and prevent an ominous 0-4 start.

“I just had to shoot the fadeaway that coach hates. And when it went it I said: ‘sarap niyan,’” said Aroga who led NU with a double-double effort of 19 points and 12 rebounds.

From Altamirano’s strictly tactical viewpoint, Aroga’s game-winner was an eyesore.

“I didn’t like the last shot of his. We always tell him not to shoot those kind of shots,” Altamirano said minutes after NU’s breakthrough win against the erstwhile unbeaten Tigers.

“But that type of shot was all heart for Alfred.”

Yet for Aroga, that unwarranted shot meant other things. It was mainly pocket redemption for the 6’8 Cameroonian banger whom, in Altamirano’s words “had to go through a lot” after being hospitalized.

“My first two games I had diarrhea. The doctors told me I need three weeks to one month to get back my strength. Coach was telling me, if we need to sit you out, we’re gonna sit you out until you get your strength back,” recalled Aroga.

But the veteran import preferred to suit up.

“Coach said ‘Alfred they’re gonna judge you by your game.’ I said ‘coach I don’t care about the critics, I just want to help my teammates,” he said.

“Every time we go to the court and we don’t get a win I felt like I betrayed coach, my family, my teammates because they’re my brothers.”

Refusing to commit another “betrayal,” Aroga sucked the pain, helping the Bulldogs survive the unrelenting Tigers, who came back from an eight-point deficit in the third despite limited production from key gunner Ed Daquioag.

“I remembered asking God that if You felt I did something wrong give me as much as You can I will just take the pain. If You feel like I’m more humble, lift me up. I’ll just be patient.”

His patience paid off.  

“This win, it’s not Alfred here. It’s NU.”

Indeed, Aroga doesn’t mind being out of his comfort zone.

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