Aljon Mariano relishes UST return in PBA On Tour game
Aljon Mariano is glad that he was able to return and play inside the campus of University of Santo Tomas as a PBA player even if Barangay Ginebra ended up on the losing end of Wednesday’s On Tour game against Meralco.
Mariano had eight points and four rebounds in the Gin Kings’ 106-93 loss to the Meralco Bolts at UST’s Quadricentennial Pavilion before bringing out his old Growling Tigers jersey to pose at the center court of the gymnasium.
“It was very special for me because it’s a very rare opportunity to play in your alma mater as a PBA cager,” Mariano said in Filipino.
WATCH Aljon Mariano wears his old Growling Tigers jersey as he poses for a picture at center court of the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion following Barangay Ginebra’s game against Meralco in the PBA On Tour. | via Jonas Terrado, Inquirer Sports
Posted by Inquirer Sports on Wednesday, July 5, 2023
Ginebra fell short against a Meralco squad that took control early on behind the hot shooting of another ex-UST cager in Allein Maliksi, who scored 13 of his 23 in the first quarter.
Mariano played for UAAP seasons for the Growling Tigers from 2010 to 2014, highlighted in a pair of Finals appearances and was one of the trusted players of coach Pido Jarencio.
But there are still some fans, including those within the UST community, who are still upset over Mariano’s late turnover which allowed De La Salle University to score a go-ahead basket and ultimately win the UAAP title in 2013, a moment which the cager later acknowledged as a life lesson.
That, however, does not take away the fond memories Mariano had experienced throughout his time in Espana.
“Of course, I remember the times I had with my teammates and coaches, as well as seeing familiar faces who were part of my journey,” he said.