CLOSE to capping off their very first season in the pro, De La Salle products Andrei Caracut and Aljun Melecio are proving themselves as a pair of reliable workhorse rookies in their batch.
Now off to the quarterfinals, Rain or Shine's Caracut averages 3.73 ppg, 1.36 rpg, and 1.27 apg. Meanwhile, Melecio of Phoenix posted 5.30 ppg, 1.40 rpg, and 1.50 apg, with one more game left.
The former teammates, who won a UAAP championship together in 2016, were both acquired by their respected teams through this year's PBA Rookie Draft.
It was a bittersweet feeling as they face each other from the opposite sides of the court.
"Kung titignan ko talaga, ang bilis ng panahon. Parang kailan lang. Kahit ngayon parang ang weird lang na magkalaban and iba na ang nirerepresent namin," Caracut told SPIN Life.
As college rookies, both made quite an impression in their da. The future RoS guard claimed the Rookie of the Year honors in 2015, while Melecio won the same award the following year, side by side a championship under coach Aldin Ayo.
Now, half a year into training in the pros, they're transitioning well.
"Super happy and grateful na nasa next chapter na kami ng buhay namin at 'yung matagal na namin pangarap at pinagsisikapan, natupad na," he continued.
Andrei Caracut, Aljun Melecio remain friends and confidantes
The two also couldn't help but be each other's confidante, often looking back on how far they've come.
"Every time na nagkikita kami or nag-uusap sa phone, hindi mawawala sa usapan yung experience and buhay PBA. Yung buhay sa pro independent na e, sarili mo transpo, food, dorm and utilities, unlike sa college, talagang lahat ng comfort andon," shared Caracut.
He added: "Napag-usapan din namin 'yung competition sa PBA pang mataas na level talaga. Ang gagaling at mauutak mga players and nag eenjoy kami competing against them, and nag-e-enjoy din kami maging independent."
Hoping to maintain their current performance, the former Green Archer skippers continue to learn from their kuyas and coaches.
"Hindi madali pero maganda experience ko," the 5-foot-11 young gun said. "Ang dami ko na agad natutunan from my coaches, teammates, and competitors. Hopefully, at pinagdadasal ko na ma-apply ko agad para makatulong pa sa team namin."
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