After a year away, Troy Mallillin out to spread his wings anew for Ateneo

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Apr 04, 2019 06:07 PM
After a year away, Mallillin out to spread his wings anew
Troy Mallillin's return to the court will be known in May

Troy Mallillin had for himself a spectacular 2016 to 2017.

Hailed as the NCAA Juniors MVP in his last year for La Salle Green Hills in 2016, he then proceeded to win a championship with Ateneo de Manila University in the UAAP Seniors in 2017.

Come 2018, however, the 6-foot-3 versatile forward was told by head coach Tab Baldwin to focus on his studies as his grades inside the classroom were falling behind the win totals he was celebrating on the court.

And so, Mallillin missed out on the Blue Eagles' back-to-back in the UAAP - as well as their Jones Cup stint and Philippine Collegiate Champions League title.

On Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig, though, the now 19-year-old was a much welcome sight behind the Cignal-Ateneo bench in their matchup opposite Petron-Colegio de San Juan de Letran in the 2019 PBA D-League. "Yes, he's been training with us again," head coach Tab Baldwin told reporters.

Apparently, Mallillin has now returned to training with the Blue Eagles - more than a year since he was obliged to focus on his studies.

He himself made it clear, though, that his spot on the squad is far from assured. "Masaya, masarap sa pakiramdam na naka-stay pa rin ako sa Ateneo, pero siyempre, pagtatrabahuan ko pa rin po ng sabay ang acads and basketball," he said.

After all, the Ateneo energizer's time away from the court - and even the practice gym - ingrained in him that there are two parts in being a student-athlete.

Asked if he will meet the Blue Eagles' academic requirements just in time for next season, he answered, "Confident naman po ako kasi natuto na ako. Natutunan ko na po talagang mag-balance ng acads and basketball," he said, adding that official grades will be out in May.

If and when he finally gets to return to the blue and white lineup, Mallillin has one promise. "'Di na mauulit yung ganun. Promise," he expressed.

And he better believe that his mentor will see to that. "You won't see him here if he has classes. That's for sure," coach Tab said.


Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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