8 things you should know about State U pride Desiderio
ABS-CBN Sports on Sep 25, 2017 08:36 PM
THIS IS WHO I AM. Paul Desiderio is now both Cebu's pride and UP's pride.
It has been a big week for Paul Desiderio.
He scored a career-best 30 points to lead University of the Philippines to its biggest win in over a decade – at the expense of defending champion and Ben Mbala-led De La Salle University, no less.
For that Herculean effort, Desierio was recognized as the Chooks-to-Go UAAP Press Corps Player of the Week – only the second Fighting Maroon to do so since 2005.
And looking at the big picture, from 2016 to 2017 with him and head coach Bo Perasol at the helm, State U now boasts a record of 8 wins and 10 losses.
That may not seem like much, but consider the fact that UP had a record of 7 wins and 77 losses from 2010 to 2015.
For those eight wins, let us give ourselves eight facts we should know about the man of the moment.
He is a loud and proud Cebuano
Desiderio was born and bred in Liloan, Cebu.
There, he started playing basketball at eight-years-old.
And from there, he starred for University of the Visayas High School in Cebu City – more or less, an hour away from his home.
In 2013, he transferred to Manila to play for UP and the rest, as they say, is history.
Still, if you talk to him now, the Bisaya accent is alive and well.
He was the first Mythical Team member hailing from Diliman in 11 years
Desiderio joined MVP Ben Mbala and Jeron Teng of DLSU, Raymar Jose of Far Eastern University, and Thirdy Ravena of Ateneo de Manila University in the Mythical Team for Season 79.
Since Marvin Cruz in 2006, no Fighting Maroon has been recognized as a Mythical selection – until Desiderio.
Not only that, he also finished fourth in the race for MVP with averages of 15.4 points in 40 percent shooting, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.5 assists.
With the way he’s playing this season, an encore is not a farfetched idea.
He is only 20-years-old
Desiderio is as clutch as they come.
He proved that with a game-winner against University of Sto. Tomas.
He proved that with a 14-point outburst in the third quarter against University of the East.
He proved that with a career performance against DLSU.
And he’s doing all that at just 20-years-young.
What a player UP has in its hands.
He was once part of Batang Gilas
Long before he had “Unibersidad ng Pilipinas” on the front of his jersey, Desiderio was already reppin’ the Philippines.
He was part of the Under-16 national basketball team which won silver in the 2013 FIBA Asia U-16 Championship. there, he was teammates with the likes of Nieto twins Matt and Mike, Carlo Abadeza, Richard Escoto, Jolo Mendoza, and Renzo Navarro.
That Batang Gilas team then competed in the 2014 FIBA U-17 Championship in Dubai where they won one game and placed 15th.
From there, the Fighting Maroons saw more than enough to want to recruit him,
He is a father to a beautiful daughter
Desiderio’s inspired play has an actual inspiration.
Meet Paula, Paul’s two-year-old bundle of joy.
He is yet to be married
Desiderio is a father to a beautiful daughter.
However, he is not a husband to a beautiful wife – not yet at least.
He was once recognized as “Best in Math”
Desiderio is pretty good with numbers on the court – in particular: points, rebounds, and some assists and steals here and there.
Even off the court, however, he is also pretty good with numbers.
Asked by ABS-CBN Sports about his academic awards, he proudly answered, “Best in math.”
And if you don’t believe him, here’s video evidence that he’s pretty good with numbers. (fast forward to 1:30)
He is not letting down Jett Manuel who left him raring and ready to take the leadership mantle for UP
Before Desiderio, there was Jett Manuel who was the face of UP’s return to relevance.
With a 5-9 record in his last year for State U, Manuel still wasn’t able to experience a playoff run.
He was more than happy to have prepared the ones staying behind for serious contention, however.
And Desiderio is only grateful for all he has learned from the King Maroon before him.
It so sad that tomorrow is our last game together playing for our school. Thank you capt @jettmanuel for everything. Thank you for the years that I have known you as my teammate, friend, mentor and brother. Me and the rest of the team would definitely miss you. Thank you for leading us and inspiring us to do more also to give our best like you always do in every game. One last ride for the duo 😭😭.