As Alfred Aroga walked out of the Smart Araneta Coliseum locker room for one last time as a player of National University, the graduating big man looked back on all of the wonderful memories he had here in the country.
Things may have gotten south for Aroga and the Bulldogs this season, but all things considered, Aroga has nothing but gratitude in his heart.
“I don’t wanna be talking about this season, I just want to thank the Philippines and the UAAP for giving me a chance to be known. All I can say is salamat,” Aroga said as he was surrounded by reporters for one last time as a Bulldog.
“Through this league and through this country, I have a lot of opportunities, I’ve had my own name,” he added.
Aroga’s legacy was cemented back in 2014 when he led the Bulldogs to their first title in 60 years, posting averages of 16 points and 13 rebounds in their three-game affair against the FEU Tamaraws where he was named the Finals Most Valuable Player.
While that was a feat to remember, Aroga said that his greatest legacy was winning the title for his graduating teammates in Troy Rosario and Glenn Khobuntin. The duo’s stock rose heavily heading into the pros upon winning the UAAP title and for Aroga, the measure of his success is he was able to help the two in achieving their dreams.
“For you to succeed you need to help your surroundings. I have (seen) a lot of guys who succeeded, Glenn (Khobuntin), Troy (Rosario) all those guys, I’m happy to see where those guys are today,” Aroga continued.
But while Aroga fell short on the court this season, Aroga still has a lot to look forward to as he’s set to receive his diploma in Sports Management this month in National University.
He knows that he can’t play basketball forever, so he’s already building his future towards a possible career in motivational speaking.
“I’m graduating on the 28th of this month. Hopefully I’ll have a Masters in Sports Psychology or PHD, it depends, I’m gonna use that, hopefully I’m gonna be a motivational speaker, that’s what I want to do.”
So in his three-year stay in the Philippines, Aroga became a Finals MVP, a champion and a degree holder. He may not be going out as a winner in his final year in the UAAP career, but he’s coming out as a winner in life.
Take a bow Alfred Aroga, you deserve it.
Sports Illustrated Philippines