CONSIDER it a lesson learned for Troy Mallillin.
More than a year since being barred from participating in Ateneo's practices due to his academic deficiencies, the 19-year-old has been finally allowed to rejoin the team practices.
No less than head coach Tab Baldwin confirmed the Blue Eagles have welcomed the NCAA Season 92 Juniors MVP back into their fold.
"Yes, he's training with us," said the stern mentor.
The lanky forward is grateful for the chance to reunite with his teammates since last suiting up back in UAAP Season 80 in 2017.
"Masaya pero kailangan ko pa rin trabahuin yung mga grades ko para tuloy-tuloy yung practice ko," the former La Salle Greenhills standout said.
Mallillin has become some sort of a cautionary tale for Ateneo student athletes - a proof that Baldwin means business when it comes to academics.
But the 6-foot-3 forward said he's putting premium on academics, to the extent of sometimes missing practices if his studies won't allow it.
"Natuto na ako. Natutunan ko mag-balance ng acads and basketball," he said after attending Cignal-Ateneo's 83-64 win over Petron-Letran in the 2019 PBA D-League on Thursday.
"Minsan di pa rin ako nakaka-attend sa mga practices kasi may mga kailangan unahin sa acads. Masarap sa pakiramdam kasi naka-stay pa rin ako sa Ateneo."
That only brings a smile to Baldwin's face.
"He should be taking his classes seriously. You won't see him here if he has classes, that's for sure," the former Gilas Pilipinas coach said.