James Spencer not returning to UP Fighting Maroons
MANILA, Philippines — James Spencer has kissed his final UAAP playing year for University of the Philippines goodbye as he decided to pursue a professional career overseas.
UP basketball program director Bo Perasol confirmed to Inquirer Sports the departure of Spencer, who is now playing for the Dandenong Rangers in NBL1, Australia’s semi-professional basketball league.
Rappler on Friday first reported that the 6-foot-4 winger will no longer return for UAAP Season 86 men’s volleyball tournament, eyeing a professional career in the Land Down Under and other countries.
Perasol said the Fighting Maroons fully support the decision of the 23-year-old Spencer, believing he will be able to achieve his goals.
“We will always be cheering for James wherever his career may take him,” said the UP men’s basketball team official. “He has the work ethic to elevate him to the next level. His contribution to the UPMBT program will always be appreciated.”
Spencer, who played four seasons for UP including a historic championship run in Season 84 to end a 36-year title drought, had a change of heart after expressing his desire to come back and end his collegiate career by redeeming the Fighting Maroons from a finals setback last December.
In his final UAAP match, The Filipino-Aussie gave his best in the winner-take-all Finals Game 3 with 14 points built on four three-pointers to keep the Fighting Maroons afloat but the Ateneo Blue Eagles still prevailed with a 75-68 victory to reclaim the crown in Season 85 on December 20.
But there will be no lack of talents for UP coach Goldwin Monteverde as his team recruited Lebron Lopez, NCAA juniors MVP Luis Pablo, Seven Gagate, and Josh Coronel from La Salle Greenhills, as well as Sean Alter.
The team also secured the early commitment of high school star Jared Bahay, who will play in Season 87 next year.