ALFRED Aroga’s heroics in National University’s thrilling win over University of Santo Tomas made up for his struggles – physically – in the first few weeks of UAAP Season 78.
Unknown to many, the Cameroonian import was in and out of the hospital during the early part of the Bulldogs’ campaign after suffering from diarrhea. And yet despite being sick, Aroga didn’t miss a single game for the reigning champion.
Now fully recovered, Aroga was back in his deadly form as he hit the game-winner in NU’s 55-54 victory over the erstwhile unbeaten Tigers.
“My first two games, I had this diarrhea,” said Aroga, recalling his sickness. “I went to the hospital. Doctors said it will take three weeks to get back into strength.”
Despite being sick, Aroga played on, saying it is a disservice to the team if he doesn’t try to help the Bulldogs in their campaign.
“I lost my strength. I wasn’t 100 percent. But every time I don’t help my teammates, I feel like I betrayed my coach. I betrayed my family and my teammates because they are my brothers,” said Aroga.
With him back in full strength, Aroga came away with 19 points and 12 rebounds for NU, which clinched its first win of the season after going 0-3.
“I’m thankful to God for this win. God is good all the time,” Aroga said.
NU coach Eric Altamirano admitted he didn’t like Aroga’s shot - a fade away jumper from just inside the three-point line with Karim Abdul’s hand on it.
But he said the shot was a testament as to how Aroga wanted to win the game.
“Alfred played a hell of a game although I didn’t like that last shot of his. We always tell him not to shoot those kinds of shots. But that type of shot is all heart. He wants to win,” said Altamirano.
Aroga said he has been working on that shot during practices.
“I had to shoot the fade away that coaches hates,” said Aroga. “During practice, I work on it. I just took it.
“Then, I said, ‘Sarap niyan,’” he added.