UAAP: 'The Mele-Show' must go on for La Salle

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 22, 2018 03:46 PM
UAAP: 'The Mele-Show' must go on for La Salle
Aljun Melecio will only be better after missing out on the Final Four for the first time in his young career

Aljun Melecio has made the Final Four in each and every year he has donned the green and white.

That is, until now in the UAAP 81 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Thanks to the hands of Arvin Tolentino, Far Eastern University barged into the playoff picture while De La Salle University bid bye-bye to the tournament.

And so, for the first time in his five-year career as a Junior Archer then as a Green Archer, Melecio will be watching the Final Four from home.

For him, though, there’s a first time for everything. “It’s a weird feeling, but that’s life! You gotta take what’s given to you and you just have to be positive in everything,” he said.

Indeed, despite the early exit, there remain to be silver linings.

In La Salle’s first year without all of Ben Mbala, Ricci Rivero, and Aldin Ayo, their 5-foot-8 scoring dynamo was given a heavier burden – and did nothing but carry it with per game counts of 15.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists.

Without a doubt, those numbers were an improvement from his averages of 6.6 points, 2.4 assists, and 2.1 rebounds during his dengue-stricken sophomore season.

As such, the Green Archers were one Arvin Tolentino basket away from making the playoffs in what was expected to be a rebuilding year – and the man they fondly call “The Mele-Show” is a big, big reason for that.

And beyond the scoring statistics, what’s more promising is the growth of the rest of Melecio’s game – if head coach Louie Gonzalez is to be believed. “Si Aljun, I spoke to him yesterday and I told him, ‘You know, I’m happy because you were able to figure out yung mga ibang bagay para matulungan yung team mo,’” he shared.

He then continued, “He learned to play off the ball, he got better at creating for his teammates. Talagang napakalaki nung maturity na ginawa nung bata.”

Now, the Taft-based team will also not have captain Kib Montalbo and do-it-all forward Santi Santillan moving forward.

The good news for them is that “The Mele-Show” must go on – and he will still have Mythical selection Justine Baltazar, Andrei Caracut, and Encho Serrano alongside him.

Still, Melecio is making no guarantees. “No promises. Basta magtatrabaho lang kami,” he said.


Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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