Phoenix Super LPG head coach Topex Robinson has described Aljun Melecio as ‘deceiving’.
And last Sunday, for that reason, the Fuel Masters decided to nab the 5-foot-9 gunner with the 19th overall pick in the 2021 PBA Rookie Draft.
The La Salle product was one of the team’s second-round choices along with Nick Demusis, whom they picked right before him. Those 18th and 19th picks came from separate blockbuster trades with Magnolia and Alaska last February.
“I’ve been a fan of Aljun since his La Salle days,” Robinson told Tiebreaker Vodcasts’ Coaches Unfiltered, presented by SMART Thursday evening. “Ang gusto ko kasi kay Aljun, deceiving eh.
“Ngingiti-ngiti, alam mo ‘yung ganun? Pero nakakasakit.”
Robinson, who’s entering his first full season as Phoenix’s chief bench tactician, went on to elaborate on what he meant. He cited the Bukidnon-native’s fearlessness to take shots — especially during crunch time.
“When I say nakakasakit, since his high school days, he really is a big-time player,” he said of the La Salle-Zobel alum. “He has won a lot of games, he’s not afraid to take that big shot. Sometimes transition, biglang titira ng tres.
“You’ll never see a coach get mad at him for shooting the three. That means he has that green light to shoot the three,” added Robinson, himself a former college coach with San Sebastian and Lyceum.
And that is why he will fit in Phoenix perfectly.
“Sa sistema namin … He fits in perfectly,” said Robinson.
“When we got him, ‘Dito Aljun, pakapalan ng mukha.’ Sabi ko nga, I think kay Aljun normal na ‘yun eh. That’s why I was so excited when we had the chance to get Aljun.”
But more than the knack for shooting, Robinson feels excited about having a point guard who’s a proven winner. Melecio won the UAAP Season 79 Rookie of the Year — the same season he helped the Green Archers to the gold medal.
“I called him right away and told him, ‘I’m so glad to get you.’ Kasi he’s a winner, he’s a proven winner, he’s won championships, so ‘yun ‘yung I think kailangan namin because that’s what we lacked in the bubble e,” he said.
“Kasi sabi namin, we need a point guard that really is an extension… Kumbaga he’s not afraid to make decisions, he’s not afraid to fail. So that’s why I think sky’s the limit for Aljun sa amin.”