Aljun Melecio holds head high after checkered DLS-Zobel career ends on losing note
A distraught Aljun Melecio is comforted by NU center Justine Baltazar. Dante Peralta

ALJUN Melecio held his head high despite ending his high school career with De La Salle-Zobel on a losing note after the Junior Archers suffered a lopsided loss to the NU Bullpups in the UAAP Season 78 finals.

Melecio did his best to help the Junior Archers extend the series, scoring 14 early points in Game Three to help his team come back from a 9-22 deficit. But it was not enough as NU’s outside shooting clicked in the second half to come away with a 96-75 win on Friday.

Melecio, who finished with 22 points, was inconsolable at the end of the game, crying unabashedly and hugging his coaches after his last game as a high school player.

[See NU Bullpups rout DLS-Zobel, seal third UAAP title in five years]

But he was a lot more composed when he emerged from the La Salle dugout.

“No regrets,” Melecio said. “Ginawa ko ‘yung lahat ng kaya kong gawin. Lahat ng teammates ko, nag-overachive kami. No hard feelings.”

Led by Melecio, the Junior Archers finished the regular season with an 11-3 win-loss record to end up in second place behind the unbeaten Bullpups. La Salle-Zobel won over Ateneo to arrange a finals match-up with NU.

Melecio said he will forever be grateful to La Salle-Zobel.

“Grabe. Kung wala ako sa Zobel, wala akong future ngayon. Nagpapasalamat talaga ako sa mga coaches ko. Kung wala sila, wala ako. Kung pinabayaan nila ako, wala akong career ngayon,” said Melecio.

“Nag-thank you sila kasi nakuha nila ‘yung gusto nila sa Zobel. Nag-thank you din ako na inalagaan nila ako,” he added.

Melecio said NU was just too good in Game Three, pointing to the Bullpups' high shooting clip of 51 percent.

“Outside shooting nila, nag-click. Ganun talaga ang basketball. May nananalo, may natatalo,” he said.

Now that his high school career is over, Melecio is turning his focus to the De La Salle seniors squad where he has committed to play. He is set to report to the Green Archers' practice next week.

“See you in Taft,” said Melecio.

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