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Melecio finds one-night-only team-up with Baltazar "awesome"

Aljun Melecio (L) with Team Punks. Ivan Saldajeno
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANDALUYONG--At least for just one night, high school and even college basketball fans were treated to a team-up of Aljun Melecio and Justine Baltazar.

For Melecio, who was crowned the MVP of the Slam Rising Stars, having his rival in the recent UAAP juniors basketball finals as a comrade was a sweet feeling.

"Sobrang sarap ng feeling na may ganun kang kakampi," the pint-sized yet deadly point guard from La Salle-Zobel told Dugout Philippines about having the NSNU beanpole after the game on Sunday night at the Gatorade Hoops Center.

Melecio, who would extend his La Sallian life to college after committing to the seniors team, later mentioned a play when he successfully threw an alley-oop pass to Baltazar, who has been rumored to be joining him with the Green Archers, in one juncture of the game.

"Walang ganun (alley-oop play) sa Zobel, so first time kong ginawa yun. Sobrang naninibago ako," Melecio described what he felt during the eye-in-the-sky moment.

Baltazar clarified online reports on Thursday that he will only attend La Salle's practice but has not yet made any college commitment.

On the other hand, what defined Melecio in the game was his cold-blooded three that helped Punks beat Hype in the annual juniors basketball showcase, enough to earn him the man of the match honor.

Upon receiving his addition to his UAAP juniors basketball season MVP award, he said, "Super blessed ako na nakuha ko itong MVP na ito. Actually, di ko ito ine-expect coming to this game. Sabi ko lang, 'Enjoy ko lang itong game na ito. Involve ko lang ang mga teammates ko. Super blessed ako na nakuha namin yung mga shots namin. Yung [clutch shot] ko, pumasok."

Melecio's dagger triple actually came against the defense of Ateneo commit Tyler Tio, but the La Salle commit downplayed it and on whether it will be repeated once the rival teams meet in the next UAAP season.

"Knowing Tyler, magaling siya na player. Competitive siya. Di siya nagpapatalo. Actually, yung tira ko, nakatsamba lang ako noon," Melecio made a walkthrough to the clutch trey.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno