Lipa City, Batangas
August 7, 2014
Week’s Best: Romero, Aroga
Happy birthday to me.
That’s the reason I’ve been in blogging hibernation for days as I’ve decided to celebrate it with family eating Chinese food, going to the mall to buy baby stuffs and capping the day with the customary ice cream-eating, movie marathoning and then ice cream-eating again.
But Sportsmaryosep is back. And we will start with the backlogs. In this case, the Players of the Week from both the country’s top collegiate league’s, the NCAA and the UAAP. St. Benilde’s Mark Romero was named the best performer of the week by the NCAA Press Corps while the UAAP Press Corps chose National U’s Alfred Aroga. And they both deserved it.
Here’s the story about Romero I’ve written for The Philippine STAR last Aug. 3 while I was covering the Cobra IronMan 70.3 Philippines in Lapu Lapu City, Cebu.
Mark Romero was not named team captain for no reason.
So when St. Benilde went on winning four straight games to zoom to the top four in the 90th NCAA basketball tournament, it is not a surprise that Romero is the biggest reason behind it.
Averaging 17 points, 5.5 assists and three rebounds in a pair of victories over four-peat champion San Beda, 83-76, last Monday and Lyceum, 86-77, Saturday that propelled the Blazers to joint fourth with the Jose Rizal Bombers on 4-3 (win-loss) records.
It also propelled Romero to the NCAA Press Corps’ ACCEL Quantum/3XVI Player of the Week award supported by Mighty Mom anti-bacteria dishwashing liquid, Dr. J rubbing alcohol and Bactegel hand sanitizer.
“I see him as a leader on and off the court that’s why he’s the captain of this team,” said St. Benilde coach Gabby Velasco of the 23-year-old Romero, a graduating Hotel and Restaurant Management student playing his last season.
Romero, a native of Taytay, Rizal who played for Far Fastern U in the UAAP for a year before transferring to St. Benilde, shone the brightest in the shock win over San Beda, whom he torched with 20 points including five in the stretch that sealed the deal.
“In my years here at St. Benilde, we never won against San Beda. It’s a good feeling we finally won against them in my last season,” said Romero, who is the team’s top scorer, best rebounder and passer.
Romero snagged the award from teammates Juan Paolo Taha and Jonathan Grey and Jose Rizal University’s Jaycee Ascuncion and Michael Mabulac.
And here’s the other piece about Aroga courtesy of the UAAP Press Corps.
NATIONAL University’s Alfred Aroga may be capable of dominating a game, but that’s not what the Cameroonian center has in mind for the Bulldogs to succeed in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament.
“As far as I’m concerned, I can’t talk like an individual player because everything that matters is the team,” said Aroga, “We’re just playing as a team and we don’t care about our stats. We just care about helping each other being better.”
But Aroga, named as the UAAP Press Corps-Accel Quantum Plus/3XVI Player of the Week, has shown how big he has been for the team.
Last Sunday, Aroga came through on both ends as the Bulldogs escaped the University of the East Red Warriors, 57-55, to grab the solo lead with a 5-1 record.
The 6-foot-7 Cameroonian center buried the Bulldogs’ final bucket with over two minutes left, before stepping up on the defensive end in the dying seconds, where he forced UE guard Roi Sumang to miss a driving layup that would have extended the game.
Aroga finished with a double-double of 18 points and 15 rebounds on top of two assists and a block.
“He gives us that inside presence, especially in rebounding,” said NU coach Eric Altamirano. “He gave us 15 rebounds. More than the points, his rebounds are very important.”
Aroga also had 10 boards to go with six points, three assists and six of the team’s 10 blocks in the Bulldogs’ 37-point crushing of the Adamson Falcons, 62-25, last Wednesday.
“I just did my best in trying to execute what coach wanted me to do,” said Aroga.
Aroga edged Ateneo’s Kiefer Ravena and Far Eastern University’s Mark Belo for the weekly citation backed by Bactigel hand sanitizer, Doctor J Mighty Alcohol and Mighty Mom Anti-bacteria.
More than earning individual honors, Aroga said he wants to focus on sustaining the success of the Bulldogs, who were hardly seen as contenders following the departure of two-time Most Valuable Player Bobby Ray Parks.
“Each game, a different person comes out as player of the game,” said Aroga. “It’s not all about a single player here. It’s about the team.”
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