Arellano big man Justin Arana is now setting his sights on making the leap to the PBA after his NCAA career came to an end with the Chiefs absorbing a 59-52 defeat at the hands of the Perpetual Help Altas in the Season 97 play-in round last Sunday.

Photo from GMA NCAA

Arana had a splendid season and finished with a league-best 17.33 rebounds and on top of 15.5 points and 2.88 blocks. The numbers, however, were not enough to carry the Chiefs to a Final Four finish in his final year in Legarda.

Arellano finished with a 4-5 record in the eliminations enough to qualify to the play-in and a do-or-die match against Perpetual. The 6-foot-5 center who willed through an MCL sprain early in the season was emotional as he took his final vow for the Arellano community.

“Nadala lang din ako ng emosyon kasi ayoko talagang matalo kasi nga last year na namin,” said Arana. “May promise ako sa Arellano community, especially sa management namin na gusto ko talagang dalhin sa Final Four ang Arellano pero ‘yun, sobrang sakit lang talaga.”

As his NCAA chapter closes, Arana said he’s now shifting his focus in preparing himself for the PBA draft set on May 15.

“I-pursue ko na yung PBA draft ko. After nito, magre-ready na ako for draft, ‘yun na ‘yung focus ko ngayon,” said Arana who made a good account of himself this season highlighted by a season-best single game performance of 29 rebounds which he collared against Jose Rizal University to clinch the play-in spot.

Arana will be one of the intriguing prospects in this year’s draft which may also feature other quality big men in the likes of JM Calma, Jeo Ambohot and Justine Baltazar.

“Marami pa akong kailangang patunayan, marami pa talaga akong kailangang i-develop and extra work pa ta laga kasi parang nagsisimula pa lang ako. Marami pa akong kailangang gawin at paghirapan para makamit ko yung PBA dream ko.”

Source: Manila Bulletin (