MANILA, Philippines -- De La Salle University team captain Aljun Melecio has decided to forego his final season of eligibility and instead join the upcoming PBA Rookie Draft.
In a heartfelt message posted on his social media accounts, Melecio expressed his gratitude to the De La Salle community and admitted that his decision was a "painful" one.
"There are just some things in life that we can't control, and this was one of them. This was not the ending I expected for my time playing for the green and white," said Melecio.
"Being the team captain in my last playing year, I almost did not let go, but there are just some hard, but important decisions we must make," the high-scoring guard added.
"This is a painful announcement, but it is one I have to make: I am entering the 2021 PBA Draft."
Melecio joins a deep draft that already includes his teammate, Jamie Malonzo, as well as reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player Calvin Oftana of San Beda University and Ateneo de Manila University swingman Will Navarro.
Melecio was the UAAP Juniors MVP in Season 78 and the Rookie of the Year in Season 79, where he helped the Green Archers win the men's basketball championship. In Season 82, he averaged 10.6 points, 3.71 assists, and 3.21 rebounds per game while shooting 34% from the field.
Season 83 would have been Melecio's last in La Salle, but the UAAP cancelled the season in its entirety last December over health and safety concerns. It remains to be seen if the league will hold a competition this calendar year.
Meanwhile, the PBA Rookie Draft is set for March 14.