Troy Mallillin is simply happy to be practicing with the Ateneo Blue Eagles again after he was barred from training.
The NCAA Season 92 Juniors MVP with La Salle Green Hills was banned from attending team practices for the whole of 2018 by Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin himself, following his poor academic performance.
Thursday afternoon, the 6-foot-3 swingman was at the back of Ateneo’s bench at the Ynares Sports Arena.
“Masaya, pero kailangan ko pa rin trabahuhin yung mga grades ko para tuloy-tuloy yung practice ko,” said Mallillin moments after Cignal-Ateneo’s 83-64 win over Petron-Letran.
Mallillin said he was thankful not just to rejoin his fellow Blue Eagles, but also to stay at the Ateneo, which has been known ever since as a school that puts a premium on academics.
“Masarap sa pakiramdam kasi naka-stay pa rin ako sa Ateneo,” the incoming third-year Atenean said.
Asked what has been the biggest lesson that he learned from being banned from practices, the 19-year-old forward from Mandaluyong said that it is the ability to balance his life as a student and as an athlete.
“Natutunan ko mag-balance ng acads and basketball.”
Now that he’s made his way back, it’s possible Mallillin will see action with Cignal-Ateneo in the developmental league. And for Mallillin, he vowed that he won’t ever commit the same mistake again.
“‘Di na mauulit yun. Promise.”