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Alfred Aroga on selflessness and the last shot



“I’m trying to do so much to help the team and it is killing me. You can imagine every time when we lose a game, I look at them and I feel bad. I feel like I’m betraying my family. It is really painful and hard to grasp.”

A distraught Alfred Aroga told Tiebreaker Times during National University’s three-game funk to open the season. He wanted to do so much to help his brothers-at-arms but foul trouble and indecision on the court hampered the team’s start.

Few people know that Aroga had been battled extreme diarrhea the past month that resulted to dehydration and loss of strength for the 6’8 defensive ace. “Very few know that Alfred had to go through a lot. He was hospitalized and he lost a lot of weight. But he’s trying to get back. I’m happy that he is there for his team,” coach Eric Altamirano said.

“I had this diarrhea. The doctor told me to rest for three weeks to one month to get my strength back,” Aroga told the members of the press. “Coach told me if we have to sit you out, we’re gonna sit you out and we’re going to wait to get your strength back.”

Aroga, though, remained defiant. “I was like ‘no coach!’ They gonna judge you based on your game they said and I said ‘no coach, I don’t care about the [critics]. I just want to go out there and help my team.’ But man every time I go out there and not help my team, I feel like I betrayed my coach and my brothers.“

In a must-win game for the defending champions four days later, Aroga led the Bulldogs with 19 markers and 12 boards against the league-leading University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers.

Here’s an account of the frantic last minute of the tilt:

A successful pick-and-roll play by Alolino and Aroga in the final minute helped the Bulldogs take back the lead, 53-52. After a series of frantic possessions,the reliables scored on big shots as Daquioag completed a fast break off a steal that was answered by a tough fallaway baseline jump shot by Aroga with 14.7 ticks left. Ferrer missed his attempt on the other end and NU survived the match despite Alolino’s missed free throws during the dying seconds.

“Alfred played a hell of a game. Although I dislike that last shot of his. We always tell him not to shoot those type of shots. That type of shot is all heart,” Coach Eric Altamirano said about the final shot.

The fadeaway jumper has been in the arsenal of Alfred Aroga ever since. This was greatly displayed during his stints in the Father Martin’s Cup tournament during his residency years and the Filoil Flying V Premiere Cup. However, the NU coaching staff deemed that the shot is very inefficient and told Alfred to avoid taking the shot at all times.

“Actually the play was for me. So coach said, when you get the ball, just attack the basket. We didn’t execute properly,” Aroga remarked about the last shot. The final play the NU coaching set up for Aroga was for the Nigerian student-athlete to post up his defender and attack the rim. Due to the defense, the big man had to pass out to Alolino, who returned the ball back to Aroga. “Gelo passed me the ball so I had to shoot this fadeaway shot that coach hates. After practice, I usually work on it. So I just had to take it.”Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Alfred Aroga on selflessness and the last shot

“After it went in, I said ‘sarap niyan!’”

For the humble Cameroonian, the win is not about him, the coaching staff, nor his teammates. “This win is not just about Alfred, or anyone else. This is about NU.”