LOOKING to improve on its finish in Season 75 of the UAAP, La Salle began bolstering its roster by securing the services of Bacolod high school sensation Kib Montalbo starting next season.
Fleet-footed and athletic, the 16-year-old Montalbo was also being pursued by Ateneo before he committed to play for La Salle, which reached the Final 4 last year only to be ousted by the Eagles.
Montalbo, a senior at St. John’s Institute in Bacolod City, was presented as the Green Archers’ newest recruit Sunday in the presence of La Salle basketball patron Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr., team manager Terry Capistrano and coach Gee Abanilla.
Social networking site Twitter was abuzz when UAAP Rookie of the Year and La Salle forward Jeron Teng posted a photo of him giving Montalbo a La Salle jacket in Cojuangco’s presence.
Montalbo has been on the wish list of several schools since making the Top 10 of the Junior NBA Philippines selection two years ago. He was also being eyed by former Ateneo coach Norman Black to join the Blue Eagles.
Cojuangco played a key role in the talks to lure the player to the Taft Avenue-based school.
The 5-foot-10 Montalbo led SJI to two Negros Occidental private schools league titles and once scored 51 points in a game.
Montalbo welcomed the challenge of playing for La Salle and expressed confidence he can contribute to its cause.
“There’s a lot of pressure but I think I can handle it,” Montalbo told the Inquirer Sunday night. “I still need to improve, but I’m hoping I can make an impact at La Salle.”