Foregoing PBA Draft all worth it for UAAP 81 Finals-bound Desiderio

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 28, 2018 09:24 PM
Foregoing PBA Draft all worth it for Finals-bound Desiderio
Paul Desiderio will always be remembered as the captain who led UP back to the Finals for the first time in more than three decades.

Paul Desiderio is playing his last year for the University of the Philippines in the UAAP Season 81 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

A year from now, the top gun of the Fighting Maroons may very well be seeing action in the PBA – as a surefire first round draft pick, no less.

That’s not happening just yet, however, as Desiderio has led State U into the Finals with games scheduled for December 1 and December 5 as well as December 8, if necessary.

The deadline for applications in the 2018 PBA Draft? December 3.

“Wala. ‘Di aabot,” he candidly told reporters after shooting his squad over Adamson on Wednesday and into the championship round.

Desiderio isn’t sweating at all, however, as he has no regrets in leading UP in continuing to make history. “Actually, gusto ko nan gang magpa-draft kaso ‘di ako aabot sa deadline,” he said.

He then continued, “Okay na okay lang din naman kasi ang tagal-tagal na ‘tong inantay ng UP community.”

After all, sacrifice has been the signature of the Fighting Maroons in the season – sacrifice best encapsulated by their new mantra of “16 Strong.”

Of course, it was the skipper himself who came up with the mantra. “Sobrang proud ako sa ginawa naming ’16 Strong.’ Ako talaga, sinacrifice ko lahat, pero para sa UP lahat ng sakripisyong ‘to,” he shared.

Indeed, throughout the tournament, Desiderio has allowed Nigerian transferee Bright Akhuetie and second-year stud Juan Gomez de Liano to shine under the spotlight.

And yet, whenever it matters most for the Fighting Maroons, it’s their graduating captain who has the ball.

That’s the way it should be for Desiderio who will live on in history as the player who guaranteed all of this for State U.

What did he say then? “Atin ‘to, papasok ‘to.”

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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