By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter

PBA YOUNG GUN Paul Desiderio of the Blackwater Elite is looking after two business ventures along with his basketball career. — CHOOKS-TO-GO

RECOGNIZING that basketball is not forever, Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) young gun Paul Desiderio is expanding his horizon, dipping his hands in a couple of business ventures which he is happy to share he is having early success in.

Got the opportunity to start a business last year after oven-roasted chicken chain Chooks-to-Go gave him his own branch in recognition of his years of duty in the Batang Gilas program, Mr. Desiderio, 23, of the Blackwater Elite, said he is getting the hang of it and enjoying what he is doing.

“The advice of Boss Ronald [Mascarinas of Chooks-to-Go] is not lost to me, which is to save for the future and make investments since a career in basketball is not forever,” said University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons standout Mr. Desiderio in Filipino.

The number four rookie pick in the 2018 PBA Draft said his Chooks-to-Go branch in Fairview, Quezon City, in just short a time has done well so much so it has afforded him the opportunity to venture to another line of business, this time with his fiancé Agatha Uvero.

The two have recently opened a franchise of Kurimi Milk Tea Bar.

“I was looking for a business to invest in, then Tita Jean (Agatha’s mom) suggested that I get a franchise of Kurimi Milk Tea Bar,” said Mr. Desiderio, whose milk tea bar branch is located in Katipunan.

Just like his Chooks-to-Go business, Mr. Desiderio said their Kurimi Milk Tea Bar has surprisingly been doing well despite their services being limited to just takeouts by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We opened in Katipunan because we are familiar with the area since Agatha and I were from UP and there are a lot of residential areas there. Sales have been surprisingly good despite the lockdown,” he said.

The Liloan, Cebu, native admits that despite the early success he is having doing business, he still has a lot to learn, something Mr. Desiderio said he does not mind going through, believing that only through it can one sharpen his chops and succeed.

“Being given an opportunity by Chooks-to-Go really fueled my interest in doing business. It’s not easy since I also have the PBA to attend to. But I embrace the grind as this is part of the whole entrepreneurial process,” he said.

Just like other PBA players, Mr. Desiderio is waiting for the resumption of league activities after it shut the season in March because of COVID-19. The PBA is targeting to resume individual workouts for the competing teams on July 22.