UST’s Mariano vows to learn from mistakes in painful finals defeat
MANILA, Philippines — Embattled University of Santo Tomas forward Aljon Mariano vowed to learn from his mistakes in the Tigers’ failed bid in recent UAAP finals as he comes back for his last playing year.
After rush of criticisms and accusations about his poor play and bungled shot at the end of regulation in game three took over Twitter in the past days, Mariano finally broke his silence on the social networking site Wednesday night.
“I’m sorry to all those I disappointed,” Mariano said in Filipino. “I understand you because even I didn’t expect that I would perform this way this season. It’s been up and down.”
He was indeed far from his dominant self this year, a stark contrast from Mariano’s performance in season 75 where he bailed the Tigers out down-the-stretch in so many occasions.
In UST’s 69-71 setback to La Salle in overtime, Mariano failed to reprise that hero role. He launched an ill-advised shot, against the play set by head coach Pido Jarencio, on the Tigers’ last possession in regulation, which missed its mark.
He had a chance to redeem himself in OT, but Mariano later on committed a crucial turnover and the Tigers eventually lost the title to the Archers.
“I wasn’t able to deliver [for the team], and some of my decisions cost us the championship,” Mariano also said. “But that’s how it is. We have to take risks so we could learn.”
And the 21-year-old forward sees those costly miscues leading to a heartbreaking defeat in the finals as big lesson.
“I learned a lot from this, and it’s not just about basketball,” he said. “Move on, learn from it and bounce back as they say. It’s not yet over.”
With a year left in his eligibility, Mariano is expected to take a lead role next season with Jeric Teng moving on to the pro league.
“I am, and will always be a proud that I am Thomasian. With all my heart,” Mariano said.