UNIVERSITY of the Philippines has secured the commitment of Nazareth School of National University's 1-2 punch of Carl Tamayo and Gerry Abadiano for the next UAAP men's basketball season.
The Fighting Maroons pulled off a stunning recruitment coup, with many pundits thinking that Tamayo and Abadiano, who steered the Bullpups to back-to-back UAAP championships, will remain in Earnshaw under their high school coach Goldwin Monteverde, who is now tasked to handle the Bulldogs.
Instead, the former Batang Gilas standouts are headed to Diliman, with UP seeking to remain as one of the elite teams in Season 83 despite losing six players to graduation and the decision of brothers Juan and Javi Gomez de Liaño to sit out the next campaign.
Maroons coach Bo Perasol recently met with the prized recruits and happily welcomed the two high school stars to the team.
“We are very happy to have Carl and Gerry in our team. Coming straight out of high school, they have five full playing years with the team. They will really be a big boost for our young team which is again in the process of rebuilding,” said Perasol.
UP made a historic Finals run two years ago and was poised for another championship round stint last season, but lost to University of Santo Tomas despite having the twice-to-beat advantage in the step-ladder semifinals.
Joining a loaded pool of Maroon recruits this year, Tamayo and Abadiano chose UP because they value education and know how the state university makes sure its student-athletes also perform well academically.
“We want to be both students and athletes. Basketball is not forever so quality education is very important for us. If and when our basketball careers end, we want to have a back-up plan to fall back on,” said Tamayo, a two-time UAAP high school basketball Finals MVP.
A former high school rival of NBA G League-bound Kai Sotto, the 6-foot-7 Tamayo will somehow lessen the burden of Season 80 MVP Bright Akhuetie in the frontline for the Maroons.
Abadiano, on the other hand, is a decorated floor general and will boost UP's backcourt led by Ricci Rivero.
“Carl and Gerry will be a big part of our rebuilding efforts. These two talents will help us secure our basketball future,” Maroons team manager Agaton Uvero said.
Other players who recently committed to UP are Xavier School ace Miguel Tan, Fil-Canadians Alonso Tan and Anton Eusebio, Fil-Australian center Ethan Kirkness, Fil-Am guard Sam Dowd, and Gilas Youth cadet standout RC Calimag.