MANILA, Philippines – A back injury limited National University (NU) center Alfred Aroga in their 55-64 setback to the University of the East (UE) Red Warriors in the UAAP tournament last weekend.
Aroga played 16 minutes but only scored three points on one-of-six shooting while grabbing four rebounds. It was a far cry from his dominant 15-point, 11-rebound, eight-block performance in NU's 76-66 win over Ateneo de Manila University on August 24.
"I don't want to have an excuse, (but) in the game against Ateneo, I had this back injury," said Aroga. "I fell on my back. So during practice this week, it was really painful. I tried to do some exercises to lessen the pain, but I couldn't really take it."
Aroga said the pain lessened after he warmed up, but flared up again during the game itself.
"It's really painful," he said, "But I had to try to play with it."
Aroga said he will have his back checked out and sounded unsure if he can play in NU's next game on Sunday against the University of the Philippines.
"I'm really feeling really bad. Hopefully I'm gonna play the next game. If not… I don't know," he said.
Aroga did give UE credit for their performance, noting that the Warriors "played great" in what was essentially a must-win game for them.
"They really needed this game," Aroga said of the Red Warriors, who kept their Final Four hopes alive with that victory.
"All their shots were going in, and Charles Mammie was really good inside," he also said. "I think they were focused, and they wanted the game more than we wanted."