Aljun Melecio was in total disbelief that he missed all three free throws late in Converge’s eventual loss to Phoenix Super LPG on Saturday night.
“Hirap,” said the 25-year-old gunner, inconsolable after their stinging 99-98 defeat at the Philsports Arena in Pasig that kept them winless in five outings in the PBA Season 48 Commissioner’s Cup. “Parang panaginip.”
The FiberXers were playing catch-up, 93-95, but Melecio had the opportunity to give themselves the lead when he was rewarded with three bonuses after being fouled by counterpart Tyler Tio upon firing from beyond the arc.
But he failed to convert any, and the La Salle product was visibly upset the rest of the way as he found it tough to fathom what happened on that trip.
Melecio missed two more crucial baskets afterwards — including the potential game-winning jumper from the baseline with five seconds left to play — but those missed charities hurt him the most.
“Ititira ko rin naman talaga ‘yun. ‘Yung free throw lang ‘yung mabigat sa akin,” said the 18th overall pick by the Fuel Masters in the 2020 Rookie Draft.
Making it all the more unacceptable for Melecio was how far he was form-wise compared to his showing versus San Miguel in Tiaong last week.
Although Converge lost via 105-96 decision, the diminutive guard served as a bright spot as he made five triples on the way to a team-high 17 points.
He was scoreless against Phoenix, missing all 13 of his shots from the field — including a sorry 0-for-8 clip from the three-point area.
“Considering na ganun ‘yung game ko last game, so ineexpect ko na, alam mo ‘yun, kahit makapasok man lang ng isa. Pero wala eh,” he said.
Melecio was consoled by his long-time mentor Aldin Ayo but he was still hard on himself over the late-game blunder.
“Sabi niya bawi na lang. Pero alam ko sa sarili ko, hindi nangyayari sa akin ‘yun e. Kahit ako, ‘di ko tanggap yung free throws na yun,” he said.
“Mabigat sa akin. Sobrang bigat.”