HIGH-SCORING guard Aljun Melecio is staying with De La Salle, and head coach Aldin Ayo is one of the reasons why he won't be heading elsewhere once his high school career ends this year.
The 17-year-old standout said he will join the Green Archers after he finishes his stint with De La Salle-Zobel in UAAP Season 78, adding that the basketball and academic program of the school played a role in his decision to stay.
“Maganda academics ng La Salle and maganda ‘yung basketball program nila lalo na’t nandito si coach Aldin,” said Melecio, who's been making waves this season, a year after being named to the UAAP Season 77's Mythical Five.
Melecio has scored 40 or more points twice this season. He notched a season-high 42 points against Ateneo in the first game of the UAAP Season 78 juniors basketball division tournament. Then on Saturday, the Junior Archer star was once again on fire, dropping 41 points on 14-of-29 shooting to go with 10 boards against Far Eastern University-Diliman in a 78-58 victory at the start of the second round.
Melecio, who played elementary basketball in Bukidnon and Lourdes School Mandaluyong, is actually reuniting with Ayo, who was recently installed as the new head coach of the seniors team.
The 5-foot-8 Melecio was part of the Ayo-coached Jr. NBA Philippines team that made it to Shanghai in 2012. And the guard came away impressed with his coach the first time they teamed up.
“Kalmado lang siya and maganda ‘yung way kung paano niya i-bring out the best sa player. Sobrang positive siya,” said Melecio.
While already committing to join the Green Archers seniors team at the end of the juniors basketball season, Melecio said he remains focused with the Junior Archers.
The Junior Archers are currently in second place with a 6-2 win-loss record under coach Boris Aldeguer, two games behind undefeated National University (8-0).
“Matagal tagal na rin na hindi nag-chachampion ang Zobel. Gusto namin lahat mabalik ‘yun (title),” said Melecio, whose school has not won a UAAP crown since 2007.