Rhyle Melencio didn’t mean to do it.
But at the end of De La Salle Zobel’s campaign in UAAP Season 85, he did it.
“It” being posting a double-double average of 17.4 points and 14.9 rebounds alongside 2.5 blocks, 1.3 assists, and 1.0 steals. In collecting double-digit markers and boards each and every game, without a doubt, he proved to be a blue-chip recruit coming out of Ayala Alabang — their first since the days of Aljun Melecio.
“Actually, hindi ko naman naging goal na mag-double-double lagi. Sadyang linaro ko lang laro ko,” he exclaimed at the end of the Jr. Archers’ 5-9 season. “Nalaman ko lang pagkatapos ng first round na double-double pala ako lagi.
“Sabi ko na nun, ‘Why not try the whole season?’ Thankfully, nagawa ko naman.”
At the end of the first round, with their 6-foot-4 versatile wing well underway in being a workhorse in green-and-white, DLSZ was in the running for a playoff berth – which would’ve been their first in six years. Round 2 didn’t go their way, however, and they only wound up at joint fifth.
Still, Melencio can rest assured that he gave his all in trying to lead the Jr. Archers back to playoff contention. And he can rest assured that he made the most of his one and only year in the boys ranks.
“Individually, nabigay ko naman yung lahat ko. Nasasayangan lang ako kasi nag-promise ako kina coach Boris [Aldeguer] na mag-Final Four kami, lalo na ang tagal nang wala dun ng Zobel,” he shared.
“Masakit na ‘di ko natupad yung promise ko, pero individually, nagawa ko naman yung part ko.”
All of it, the 19-year-old did – and will continue to do – for his family. His surname, if it wasn’t already evident at first, is of Philippine basketball royalty.
“Yung inspirasyon ko talaga is lolo ko. Maraming may kilala sa kanya; siya nag-umpisa sa apelyido namin,” he exclaimed. “Tapos wala nang sumunod sa dad ko na Melencio, kaya gusto kong ako na yun.”
Rhyle is the son of San Beda High School and University of Sto. Tomas great Richie, and grandson of Rogelio, fondly called “Tembong,” who was part of the Philippine national team that competed in the 1972 Munich Olympics and won two gold medals in the 1967 and 1973 FIBA Asia Cups.
Now, it’s the turn of the third-generation Melencio to carry the torch for the family. And for him, he wants nothing more than to keep the shield of green and white in hand.
“Dream school ko talaga La Salle. Yung mga laban like La Salle-Ateneo, yun talaga pangarap ko since bata ako.
“Yung pressure, yung crowd, yun ang gusto ko. Ayaw ko yung comfortable lang ako e. Gusto kong nasa labas ako ng comfort zone ko,” he expressed.
Only time will tell if his dreams do come true. For now, Rhyle Melencio will just keep at it – “it” being doing both what wasn’t meant to be done, and what’s expected of him and his surname.