LOSING a loved one really makes one realize and appreciate more the value of life and family.
Two days after Letran’s Franz Dysam lost his girlfriend Joan Sordan in a shooting incident, Justine Alano of University of Perpetual Help has become more determined to continue working hard for his baby daughter as the Altas take on the reeling Mapua Cardinals in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament Monday at The Arena in San Juan.
Tipoff is set at 6 p.m. with the Altas gunning for their fifth victory in six games and a share of second place with three-time defending champion San Beda.
Alano is coming off his best game of the season last Thursday when the undersized big man registered 15 points, six rebounds, two blocks, and two assists in the Altas’ 73-66 win over Arellano.
And the 6-foot-2 center vows to keep it going not only for his team, but ultimately for his daughter, Jastine, who turned a year old last June 30.
“Syempre lumalaki na siya, so kailangan ko lalo pang pag-hirapan `yung mga bagay na ginagawa ko,” the 21-year-old single father told Spin.ph. “Gusto ko may marating siya sa buhay at gusto ko mapalaki siya ng tama.”
Alano, as usual, will be up against bigger foes as the Cardinals parade Jessie Saitanan, Mark Braña, and Jeson Cantos.
But he will have plenty of help down low in fellow Perpetual Help veteran Harold Arboleda, who had 20 rebounds and nine points against the Chiefs, and versatile Nigerian big man Nicholas Omorogbe.
The Altas also have ample firepower in the wings in rookie Juneric Baloria, the league’s leading scorer, who is expected to engage the Cardinals’ prolific swingmen Kenneth Ighalo and Joseph Eriobu in a shootout.
The Cardinals, with a 1-4 win-loss card, are hoping to recover from a 78-53 defeat at the hands of San Beda last Monday in a game where they were accused of deliberately hitting the Red Lions.
Meanwhile, San Sebastian faces Emilio Aguinaldo College earlier at 4 p.m. in its second straight game without head coach Topex Robinson.
The Golden Stags, currently occupying fourth spot at 3-2, will be handled anew by assistant coach Raymond Valenzona in the absence of Robinson, who’s currently in the midst of a US trip together with the entire Alaska team, where he serves as one of coach Luigi Trillo’s deputies.
The Generals have lost four of their five games, the last an 85-79 decision to Jose Rizal University last Monday.