Eagles tapping 2 half Filipino reinforcementsBy Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
TWO FILIPINOS with foreign roots hope to boost Ateneo’s quest to stay dominant in the UAAP men’s basketball tourney next year.
Filipino-American Chris Newsome and Filipino-Canadian John Lasa—both athletic wingmen who had served residency—will fill the void left by the graduation of key cogs led by star center Greg Slaughter and back-to-back Finals MVP Nico Salva.
“They’ve been doing very well,” said team manager Paolo Trillo of the two prospects who have been training with Ateneo’s Team B.
Newsome, a 6-foot-2 shooting guard, suited up for US Division II school New Mexico Highlands University, while the 6-foot-2 Lasa hails from Vancouver, Canada.
But Trillo said that there’s still no replacement for coach Norman Black, who returned to the pros after steering the Blue Eagles to a fifth straight championship last Thursday.
“As of now, nothing definite yet on the new head coach,” Trillo said before Ateneo’s bonfire celebration yesterday at the school grounds. “But the legacy coach Norman left behind is there. The school just have to continue to recruit players who want to study and play here.”
Kiefer Ravena—the sophomore guard who starred in the clutch in both games of the Blue Eagles’ title sweep of University of Santo Tomas—thinks the remaining players can still carry the load for Ateneo.
“We have a good nucleus for the team, but we just have to double the effort,” said Ravena.
Trillo also expects the team’s program to run smoothly even if tycoon and sports patron Manny V. Pangilinan had severed ties with the school.
Among the plans sidetracked was the appointment of former PBA mentor Bo Perasol as Black’s replacement.
Perasol is reportedly set to move instead to the University of the Philippines as a consultant with MVP now shifting his patronage from the Eagles to the Maroons.