UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas star forward Aljon Mariano was quick to allay fears the foot injury he suffered in a game against University of the East on Thursday was serious enough to force him to miss games.
Mariano went down at the 5:04 mark of the third period when he stepped on center Charles Mammie and rolled his left foot, writhing in pain as he was carried out of the floor by UST staff led by coach Pido Jarencio.
He never returned, watching from the sidelines as the Red Warriors rallied for a 67-68 victory.
Video replays of the play raised fears the UST star may have badly injured the same ankle he hurt in the preseason, forcing him to miss the early part of the Tigers' campaign.
Mariano, however, said it won't keep him from suiting up in the school's next game.
"Medyo nanigas lang kasi noong na-twist pero noong na-relax na okay na," Mariano said. "Makakalaro (na ako) next game."
Mariano admitted that it was poor decision-making that cost the Tigers a victory in a game where they led by as many as 11 points, 58-47, in the second half.
"Medyo maling decisions lang noong last 20 seconds," he said, pointing to a late play when Ed Daquioag made a crosscourt inbound pass to Kevin Ferrer which led to a turnover and the game-winning layup from UE gunner Roi Sumang.
Mariano, who finished with four points, three rebounds and three assists, expects UST to stay in the title fight as the Tigers await the return of top scorer Jeric Teng.
"Ngayong second round magkakasama na kami sa UST, lahat kami, siguro kailangan pa namin mag regroup. Babalik na si Jeric siguro mas magiging okay na 'yung takbo ng team namin," he said.