ALJUN Melecio was ecstatic his teammates had his back when he played his worst game of the season at the worst possible time in La Salle-Zobel’s drive for the UAAP Season 78 title.
The newly-crowned league MVP managed only 14 points in 20 foul-plagued minutes before fouling out late, but his teammates stepped up big time as the Junior Archers dethroned Ateneo, 75-68, in the stepladder playoffs Monday at the Filoil Flying V Arena.
Brent Paraiso was one of those players who took the cudgels for the team, finishing with a double-double of 15 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Junior Archers to the victory en route to a finals match with unbeaten National University.
Melecio was pleased with the contributions of his teammates, knowing full well they can step up anytime for the second seeded Junior Archers.
“Akala ng Ateneo, Aljun Melecio team pero hindi ko talaga team ‘to. Lahat kami nagtatrabaho. Nag-step up ‘yung mga teammates ko,” he said.
The Junior Archers went up, 13-4, early in the first quarter and gave no ground to Ateneo even though Melecio was already saddled with three fouls in the second period.
“In an inexperienced team, break down ‘yan pero the guys just stepped up today. Puso talaga ‘yung nagdala sa amin. They don’t want to lose the game today,” said La Salle-Zobel coach Boris Aldeguer.
Also contributing for the Junior Archers in the victory were Miguel Fortuna (12 points) and MR Romero (11 points, eight rebounds), who hit crucial baskets in the fourth period.
“Siyempre maganda ‘yung feeling na nag-step up ako,” said Paraiso. “Hindi ko rin magagawa ‘to kung hindi dahil sa mga teammates ko.”