Thursday, September 21

Aboya prevails despite illness

Senior Alfred Aboya goes up for a layup against Washington in Pauley Pavilion on Feb. 19. Aboya battled through extreme dehydration to help the Bruins win.

Senior Alfred Aboya goes up for a layup against Washington in Pauley Pavilion on Feb. 19. Aboya battled through extreme dehydration to help the Bruins win. Tiffany Cheng

The date was Feb. 19, a home game against the Pac-10-leading Washington Huskies.

It was a performance that encapsulated exactly the type of player Alfred Aboya was: someone who consistently gave their all for the benefit of the team, no matter the ailment.

Entering the game against the No. 22 Huskies, the No. 20 UCLA men’s basketball team found itself in a precarious position. The Bruins were reeling after being swept on the road against the Arizona schools, dropping them into a tie for third place in the Pac-10 with California. On top of that, the first-place Huskies had already defeated the Bruins handily in their first meeting, 86-75.

Yet the Bruins, especially Aboya, found the resolve and energy to achieve a victory by an eerily similar score, 85-76.

The win moved the Bruins into a tie for second place in the conference and proved to be one of the biggest wins of the season for the team.

Nothing better represented the incredible energy the Bruins put forth that game than Aboya’s performance.

The senior center had been battling flu-like symptoms throughout the week and his status was uncertain for what, at the time, seemed to be the Bruins’ most important game of the season.

Yet Aboya not only played and started, he gave a performance that can only be described as gutsy, finishing with 13 points and 11 rebounds, good for his third career double-double at the time.

Throughout the game, Aboya fought through sickness and incredible dehydration, failing to quit or give less than 100 percent.

At halftime, team doctors attempted to give Aboya an IV shot. However, Aboya was so dehydrated that doctors were unable to find a vein to administer the IV. Aboya would play the rest of the game, scoring seven of his 13 points and holding Washington star Jon Brockman to just three field goals in the second half.

At the post-game press conference, coach Ben Howland explained how he was unaware at the time that the doctors were unable to give Aboya the IV. By the way Aboya played, Howland believed he had been administered the treatment.

“I couldn’t tell at all,” Howland said. “I didn’t know until the end of the game that it never took.”

Senior point guard Darren Collison said he had grown used to seeing that incredible resiliency from Aboya throughout his time at UCLA.

“Even if he has one leg, he’s going to go out there and play,” Collison told the Associated Press after the game. “He makes injuries and people who get sick look stupid.”

Aboya’s performance on that Thursday remains one of the greatest displays of heart, determination and sheer will-power to help his team, no matter the circumstances.

In a sense, it was just Alfred Aboya being Alfred Aboya.

“I just assumed he would give it everything he had,” Howland said. “And he did.”

With reports from Jason Feder, Bruin Sports senior staff, and Bruin wire services.

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