The way the fans powerfully cheered for Aldrich Berrios at his last game with the Heat may have suggested the five year senior had just won the NBA’s MVP award. With a loss to the Victoria Vikes, Berrios didn’t end his UBC Okanagan basketball career exactly the way he wanted to: coming just two wins shy of the playoffs.
He did, however, end his tenure at UBC as the Most Valuable Player for the Heat, and for the fans. Berrios concluded his career as the Heat’s all-time leading scorer.
“It’s surreal honestly,” Berrios said after his last game. “I’m speechless and grateful for my five years here.”
The Heat had a longshot of a chance to make the basketball playoffs for the first time since joining the USports league with a weekend match-up against the Vikes. The Heat needed to at least split the two game home series with the Vikes to have a shot for the playoffs, but fell short in front of a home crowd remembering Berrios’ last game.
Berrios capped off his last career game with a 17 point performance. The five year senior has 1483 career points with the Heat, as well as the second best 3-pointers made in the Canada West division with 256.
The Heat came close to reaching the playoffs for the first time but ran into a tough Vikes team.
“(The Vikes) are a good team, they’ve been together for awhile, they’re experience and well coached,” said Berrios. “Everyone knows we’re the youngest team in the conference. We fought hard, we had a great season, and we exceeded a lot of expectations, and that’s all we could ask for.”
Though the Heat fought to the bitter end in a 82-61 loss, Berrios thanked the full home crowd with a few extra perfect 3-pointers before being ceremonially substituted off with less than a minute to play and to the roars of the Heat fans.
Berrios put his hands up in appreciation as he acknowledged the ever-loyal fans, the opposing teams’ players and coach, and walked off to embrace his coaches and fellow players, as the fans stood tall for the standing ovation.
“He’s had an outstanding career and has done great things for the program and university. (Berrios) and the others should feel good about their year,” said Heat coach Ken Olynyk.
Berrios advised his younger teammates to enjoy every moment, and every step as the time will go faster than they realize. His career may be finalized at UBC Okanagan, but Berrios is ready for what’s next.
“I want to keep playing ball, just a matter of where,” Berrios said.
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