Monbert Arong was at the right place at the right time.
Receiving an inbounds pass from the baseline from Joe Trinidad, the Cebuano guard pump-faked at the right corner, caught Alfred Aroga in the air, and went closer as he fired a jumper in Far Eastern University’s (FEU) hotly-contested game against National University (NU).
The ball found the bottom of the net with 3.7 seconds to spare, as that game-winner allowed the Tamaraws to stun the Bulldogs, 57-56 on Sunday.
“Coach Nash told me to shoot it. I just followed his instructions,” he said.
That shot was just the rightful exclamation point for an amazing week for Arong as he took home the Accel Quantum/3XVI-UAAP Press Corps Player of the Week citation, becoming the first non-La Salle player to claim the plum this season.
He bested La Salle’s Ricci Rivero and University of the Philippines’ Jett Manuel for the weekly honor given by scribes covering the country’s premier collegiate league from top broadsheets, national dailies, and online portals.
Arong provided the lift for FEU this week as it completed an elimination round sweep of NU, first pouring 20 points, three assists, and a rebound in the tight 78-75 victory on Wednesday, before following it up with 13 markers, seven coming in the fourth period, to go with two boards and two assists in the rematch.
Little did everyone know that he did all of that despite nursing a sprained ankle, with coach Nash Racela saying, “He was the go to guy. We’re just happy that Monbert was able to deliver for us today,” the coach said.
For Arong, though, it’s just a matter of trusting himself and his teammates as the Tamaraws seek to sustain their five-game winning run.