PBA DRAFT: AMIN NA 'TO: NLEX claims Paul Desiderio and his fighting spirit
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Dec 16, 2018 07:43 PM
Paul Desiderio will now don the blue and white - the blue and white of NLEX
Coach Yeng Guiao pulled off another draft shocker on Sunday at the Robinsons Place in Ermita, Manila.
“Amin na ‘to,” he started saying after NLEX was given the mic to announce its fourth overall pick.
Did those three words ring any bell?
Because if they did, then you would have guessed right that the Road Warriors selected Paul Desiderio, the University of the Philippines’ heart and soul in its magical UAAP Season 81.
It has become coach Yeng’s trademark to pull off shockers in the rookie selection process – and drafting Desiderio this high, even after his starmaking stint with the Fighting Maroons, was nothing but a shocker.
Even the now-NLEX guard himself was surprised with what happened. “Sobra-sobrang nagulat ako. ‘Di ako nag-eexpect na kukunin ako nang maaga ni coach Yeng. Siyempre, ‘di ko talaga ine-expect na maunahan ko pa yung mga mas higher – sina Javee [Mocon], sina Trevis [Jackson],” he shared.
He then continued, “So yun. Sobrang blessed ko lang na makuha sa NLEX.”
Indeed, majority of mock drafts had either San Beda University’s versatile forward Javee Mocon or De La Salle University’s athletic big Abu Tratter going to the Road Warriors at fourth overall.
Instead, coach Yeng went with the Liloan, Cebu native. “Sabi lang niya sa akin, ‘Congrats.’ Wala pa naman siyang ibang sinabi,” the latter answered after getting asked what the former told him up on stage.
Whether or not he was told something, Desiderio promises one thing and one thing only to his new team. “Sobrang blessed ko so ang goal ko lang is hindi ko ipahiya si coach Yeng,” he said.
That is even truer as the most recent King Maroon will now be mentored by his fellow UP alumnus. “Sobrang saya kasi alam niya naman yung pinaghirapan namin sa UP tapos ngayon, kinuha niya ako sa PBA. Dahil dun, gagawin ko talaga best ko,” the former said.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.