WHO says choosing whether to still play in the UAAP or join the PBA draft is easy?
Ask former La Salle standout Aljun Melecio, who opted to forego his final year with the squad and instead apply for the March 14 proceedings.
“Gusto ko pang makaisa sa La Salle, parang gusto ko munang bigyan ng chance na baka mag-champion. So, masakit siya na iwan ang La Salle na parang hindi pa tapos iyong season ko,” Melecio said in a recent episode of The Prospects Pod.
“Pero may mga bagay talaga na dapat mag-decide ka para sa ikabubuti, para sa kung saan ka sure,” he added.
The 5-foot-7 Meleciov was good for 10.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 3.8 assists in the last UAAP cage wars.
A former UAAP Rookie of the Year winner, Melecio won a title with the Green Archers in 2016 under coach Aldin Ayo.
Melecio, 22, admitted he was determined to finish his collegiate career with the Taft-based five, but the cancelation of the UAAP 83rd season last December prompted him to turn pro.
It also helped that La Salle coach Derrick Pumaren supported Melecio’s decision.
“Last-minute ako nag-decide kasi gusto ko talagang tapusin iyong last playing year ko sa La Salle. Before noon, may naririnig na rin na siguro maka-cancel (the season), baka lang hindi pa sure, so nakausap ko sila coach Derrick (Pumaren), mga manager, supportive naman sila kung ano iyong magiging decision ko,” Melecio said.
“Binigyan nila ako ng go-signal na magpa-draft so last minute, nag-decide na talaga ako na tingin ko mas safe kung magpapa-draft na kasi kapag mag-skip ako, hindi talaga sure kung kailan mag-i-start iyong UAAP so sa mental aspect mo, hindi mo alam kung kailan ka magiging ready talaga, parang may timeline ako palagi na itong month, ganito na dapat ako, ganyan. Isang factor din iyon kaya ako nag-apply sa draft.”
A record 97 rookie hopefuls have applied for the draft likely to be held virtually due to the threat posed by the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic.
Although under the radar, Melecio vowed to bring his A-Game if and when he gets picked.
“Iyong edge ko over other guards siguro is defense tapos sa PBA iba na ‘di ba so defense, kung kailangan naman maka-score nandiyan naman ako palagi kung kailangan,” he said.