CHARLES Mammie of University of the East had the better numbers, but it was Alfred Aroga of National University who had the last laugh.
Aroga knocked in two pressure-packed free throws for the winning basket in the Bulldogs’ 51-49 triumph over the Red Warriors in their Saturday playoff for the last remaining berth in the UAAP Final Four.
He also proved to be the better man over Mammie as he tried to ignore the verbal tussle directed on him by the UE center.
Mammie, the bigger and bulkier between the two, banged bodies and engaged Aroga in several exchanges of words that had the referees always on toes trying to separate them during dead ball situation.
“Me personally, I like it when you insult me, because when you insult me, it makes me better,” Aroga said during the post-game interview.
Aroga claimed the 6-foot-8 Mammie hurled expletives on him during the second half, something that didn’t sit well on the NU big man.
“Mammie is a tough player. But I told him, he has to play like a man,” said the Cameroonian.
“He’s physical but he doesn’t have to attack me with personal stuff. That’s not how we play basketball,” he added.
“I don’t want to say this, but it’s not good to listen (to what Mammie said). It’s not a big deal, but every player wants to go harder and win.”
Nonetheless, Aroga said he used Mammie’s trash-talking as a way to motivate himself during his 24-minute exposure in the second half.
“The way I’m gonna respond is to go hard at you. I really appreciate the player who insults me because it makes me really better,” he said.
“I’ll try to find something else to help my team because if I try to play like them, I’ll hurt my team, so I try to get rebounds and do my job,” added Aroga, who was saddled with foul trouble in the first half.
He finished the game with seven points, eight rebounds, two blocks, one steal, and assist, although it was his two free throws from a foul by Mammie that proved to be the big difference in the tightly-fought contest as it broke a 49-all contest.
Mammie finished the game eight points, 14 rebounds, and two assists for the Warriors, who have yet to make the Final Four since it finished runner-up behind champion Ateneo in the 2009 season.