UST's Mariano moves on after tough UAAP season
MANILA, Philippines – University of Santo Tomas (UST) veteran Aljon Mariano has now moved on from a difficult UAAP season that saw him struggle with his health, keeping him from consistently contributing to the Growling Tigers’ cause.
Mariano played the entire season with bone spurs in his left ankle, robbing him of his movement and explosiveness. This culminated in a poor performance in their best-of-three Finals series against De La Salle, which saw him miss a potential game-winning jumper in regulation of Game 3.
“Okay na naman ako ngayon,” Mariano told ABS-CBNnews.com during the launch of the UAAP-themed watches from Tomato Time this week. “After the season, nagpa-opera na ako sa ankle ko for bone spurs. Nagre-recover na ako ngayon.”
Following his subpar performance in the Finals, Mariano was heavily criticized in social media, especially for his decision to take the last shot in regulation of Game 3 instead of passing the ball to star guard Jeric Teng.
But he said he has moved on from that difficult time and is thankful for the support of his teammates and coaches.
“Medyo matagal na rin eh. Wala na, nag-move on na ako,” said Mariano.
Mariano said knowing that he had his teammates and coaches’ support made him feel safe and secure.
“Ganun naman kasi. Sila ‘yung teammates ko and nandyan sila para sa akin,” he said. “Ganoon naman talaga kami sa team, parang family na lang.”
Because he is still recovering from surgery, Mariano was not able to participate in the Growling Tigers’ campaign in the Philippine Collegiate Champions League, which saw them get knocked out by Far Eastern University.
He is instead focusing on UST’s campaign in the UAAP Season 77 men’s basketball tournament.
“Babalik na lang kami next year ulit,” Mariano said. “Yun ang aim namin. Dalawang finals na kami nabibigo, kailangan na namin makuha talaga.”