Paul Desiderio grateful for UAAP Finals stint for boosting his PBA draft stock
MANILA, Philippines—The Paul Desiderio party isn’t stopping any time soon.
The captain who led University of the Philippines to its first UAAP basketball finals in 32 years had his first taste of official PBA action when he participated in the first day of the PBA Draft Combine Wednesday at Gatorade Hoops Center.
Desiderio, who’s always maintained a happy-go-lucky attitude outside the court, was still brandishing a wide smile and said he’s still on a high after the Fighting Maroons featured in the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball finals.
“I think I haven’t rested one bit,” said Desiderio in Filipino. “This is the moment I’ve been waiting for, I have no choice but to do this so I can achieve my dream of playing in the PBA.”
Desiderio’s Fighting Maroons got swept in the championship round with Ateneo taking its 10th title in two games.
Despite the loss in the lone finals of his collegiate career, Desiderio said he wouldn’t be in his position if not for the inspiring run UP had in Season 81.
UP finished the eliminations as the third seed with an 8-6 record and fought its way to its first championship series since winning the title in 1986.
Desiderio said there’s some pressure especially after he led the Fighting Maroons to the finals as their emotional leader, but it also gave him the stock to become a potential first rounder.
“Of course there’s some pressure because I was fresh off the UAAP finals,” said Desiderio who, along with UP teammate Diego Dario, are the only two applicants of the 47 that applied straight out of college. “The UP community expects much out of us, but I’m just euphoric I’m in this level.”
“The finals were really a big help to my stock because if we weren’t in the finals I wouldn’t be even known at this kind of level.”