Mariano keen on redeeming self and UST

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The Growling Tiger unfairly ridiculed in social media as the Second Most Hated Person in the Philippines (next to Janet Lim-Napoles) is bent on redeeming himself.

Swingman Aljon Mariano knows the gravity of his errors in judgment in Game 3 of the UAAP men’s basketball finals, which helped the De La Salle Green Archers to walk away with the title.

But the 6’3″ Mariano, who was playing with an ankle injury, vowed to get back into shape and come back stronger next season.

“Gusto kong patunayan na karapat-dapat pa rin akong pagkatiwalaan,” he said.

Mariano knows he has a lot to work on – maturity and decision-making included – especially in the last 6.1 seconds of Game 3.

Why, for instance, did he take that last shot in regulation that could have secured the win for the Tigers? The play, he admitted, was intended for hot-shooting Karim Abdul, who would eventually score a game-high 26 points.

“Originally, play kasi talaga namin ‘yun kay Karim, ‘yun ‘yung first option namin, e na-deny si Karim kaya ako na ang lumabas, kinuha ko na yung bola,” Mariano said.

“Clear shot naman ang tira ko, ‘di lang talaga nag-shoot. Kahit ako akala ko shoot na e. Sabi ng iba, dapat nag-drive ako kasi penalty [ang La Salle], pero expected na rin kasi nila na magda-drive ako kaya nag-step back ako.”

With less than 30 seconds left in overtime, Mariano threw an errant pass to Kevin Ferrer after collaring the rebound off a Jeron Teng missed freethrow. The Growling Tigers were ahead, 69-68, before Almond Vosotros drained a baseline jumper that sealed the win for La Salle.

“’Yung bato ko kay Kevin na nag-out, ‘di naman dahil sa pressure. Inexpect ko na magfo-foul ang La Salle kasi nasa corner ako, ita-trap ako, for sure double team na ‘yun,” Mariano said. “Nagka-miscommunication kami ni Ferrer. Bago pumasok ng court nagkatinginan na kami, akala niya forward ‘yung pasa ako pero toward naman.”

Mariano recognized his mistakes, but admitted he was hurt by criticisms coming from his fellow Thomasians.

“Sorry kasi ‘di namin nakuha ‘yung championship na halos hawak na namin…Syempre, unang una, nasaktan ako kasi kapuwa ko taga UST ang nagsasabi sa’kin. Naglalaro lang naman ako para sa UST, para manalo tayo. Nung una, masakit. Nung after nga ng game wala akong mukhang maiharap sa UST,” he said.

Still, Mariano knows that coming back from being sixth seed to Finals contender – overcoming top-seeded National University twice and five-time defending champion Ateneo de Manila University along the way – was something to be proud of and grateful for.

“Proud pa rin kami sa team namin. Nung una, number six kami, ang daming na-injure pero nakabalik kami. Parang walang naniniwala sa’min, pre-season palang ‘di na kami considered na contender,” Mariano said.

“After the three-game losing streak, nag-regroup kami, three consecutive wins. Sa Final Four, sabi nila La Salle-NU o FEU-NU na sa Finals pero na-overcome namin lahat ‘yun.”

The heartbreak may have caused remorse, but it also came with all the lessons.

“Marami akong natutunan, ‘di lang sa basketball kundi sa decision-making. ‘Pag nag-take ka ng risk, ‘di mo alam kung ano’ng mangyayari,” Mariano said. “‘Pag panalo, masaya, ‘pag talo, matututo ka kasi mas alam mo na ang gagawin [next time].”

“Sa PCCL, sa’min ang championship. Kailangan naming i-defend ‘yun para kahit paano, ma-redeem namin ang UST,” he added. “’Di pa naman tapos, babalik kami next year kaya sana sama-sama pa rin, suportahan pa rin kami.” Alexis U. Cerado

9 COMMENTS

  1. Aljon pwede ba, wala kang injury! Alam lahat ng interns At doctors ng Tigers yan. Hindi ka icclear ng doctors kung injured ka. Makatulog ka sana sa pinaggagagawa mo. Benta.com

  2. It happens to the best of us. The bright side is, Aljon can always learn and redeem himself after every fall from here on. That is what he has over other players. I am confident that Aljon will rise like the phoenix. In fact, I won’t be surprised if he fills in the shoes that Jeric left as a King Tiger.

  3. syempre alam natin lahat na iba talaga ang pressure lalo n kung finals na at championship na ang pinaglalabanan. go for the marbles ika nga. cguro hindi lang ito nakalaan para s atin. kahit sabihin na nting abot kamay n yung tagumpay kung d talaga ipagkakaloob ng Dyos hindi yun mapupunta s tin mga thomasian. marami p naman pagkakataon. to aljon, you still have 1 year left to play for ust. prove mo n kaya mong bumalik at mali ang mga criticism about sau.

  4. What a lame pathetic excuse! We’ve witnessed many championship games but this one is the most painful bec. You betrayed our trust and robbed us of the championship trophy. You don’t have to be a sports analyst to read your moves. If u think u have an injury, you should choose to bench yourself out. Your so-called injury was no more than what Jeric suffered but he chose to fight back. Stop using “we” it’s only you among the players who sell us out or was there any other culprits? Only you and your coach knew it!

  5. Yung manager mo sabi 1k a week lang allowance ng players (which is not true by the way). Lalo kang binaon ng manager mo dahil mas malaki chance mo magbenta Mariano dahil sa 1k na sabi ng manager mo. Laki siguro binigay ni Danding sa yo. Sure na na may team ka sa PBA. Pero malamang sa Pseudo-Teams nila tulad ng Air21 o Barako Bull ka lang mapupunta. Si Jeric injured pero di niya ininda ikaw nagimbento ka pa ng injury. Sinungaling ka gahaman pa sa pera!

  6. Ji purposely allowed a full week to pass by before commenting on the just concluded season 76 uaap basketball finals won by dlsu in a game where the result could have gone either way. both teams gave it their 100% effort and both teams had its share of crucial errors. unfortunately only one must win and unfortunately we came up short in a game decided in the very last seconds.
    first, i can understand the thomasians’ rense of frustration and disappointment ap i did ro myself, the rest of the players, coaching and support staff, and supporters. please, let me request everyone to stop blaming and bashing aljon mariano. analyze the game and there were errors and events that contributed to ust’s loss- a missed foul shot that could have given us a comfortable lead in the last 1:40 of the game, a blown 15 point lead, po inbound inbound decision making, and more. putting the bkame entirely on one pkayer is not correct, unfair, and not objective. i know aljon personally and it is an understatement to say that he would risk everything just to be able to give santo tomas a championship. you may have forgotten but aljon saved a crucial win for ust when he shot the game tyingg trey and helped ust win in 2overtimes vs feu. all of you hailed and exaulteed him as hehero. now that he failed eventafter trying his best, you condemn him. worst is tqat you even suspect him of giving away the game. magisip naman kayo. you are talking about a thomasian athlete who is loyal to the university-

  7. of all the top tier teams in the uaap, ust is the only remaining institution thaudoes not give eat allowances and juicy perkr to its players just to be able to win a basketball title. and yet we are always up there fighting toe to toe with schools who even tap their alumni to shell out multimillions to sustain basketball program, recruit to the point of buying an athlete. ust does not and will not do that . we adhere to true amateurism in collegiate sports. we do not need totdo that because thomasian pride and spirit is more than enough to instill unconditional loyalty of our athletes to the pontifical university. i admonish everyone tn be true ruppoqters of our loyal athletes, both in good and bad times. let ur always be united and be one for ust! lets look forward to next year. viva santo tomas. afte~~p all we are still the winningest school in the uaap- the real kim-g of the uaap! go uste!!!

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