In just his first year in Arellano, and in just his first round in the NCAA, Justin Arana is already making the most out of his second shot in his collegiate career.
A seldom-used bench player in his three-year stint in UST, Arana has transformed into a pillar for the Chiefs and their rebuild.
The 6-foot-5 big man left his biggest mark yet in the past week. He came up big in the clutch to lead Arellano in their game-defining run, hitting shot after shot as they downed two-time finalists Lyceum Pirates, 87-81.
Arana wound up with 24 points, 11 rebounds, and three blocks in the victory, which also put an end to their three-game skid. He also positioned him as the Chooks-to-Go Collegiate Press Corps NCAA Player of the Week.
Without question, the first-year forward has been repaying his new team’s trust with stellar play.
“We talk from time to time and I remind him na magaling talaga siya,” said Arellano mentor Cholo Martin. “He was consistent the whole week and today, nag-deliver ulit siya.”
More impressively, Arana actually outworked opposing Cameroonian bruiser Mike Nzeusseu in crunch time, holding him scoreless in the fourth quarter.
Moving forward, Arellano’s rising tower promises to keep growing as a leader for the Season 95 hosts.
“Sobrang laking bagay sa akin ngayon ‘to kasi before sa UST, quality minutes lang ako. Binigyan ako ng kumpyansa ng Arellano and ng coach namin,” shared Arana, who bested San Beda’s Calvin Oftana and Evan Nelle as well as San Sebastian’s Allyn Bulanadi for the weekly plum handed out by scribes from print and online covering the beat.
“Kaya ko ni-grab ko lang talaga ang opportunity na ‘to para ibalik sa kanila yung pasasalamat ko na tinanggap nila ako.”