LAST weekend the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons welcomed the good news of UAAP juniors standouts Carl Tamayo and Gerry Abadiano committing to take their talent to Diliman for their collegiate careers.

Played high school ball at the Nazareth School of National University in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP), Tamayo and Abadiano surprised many when they decided to make the jump to UP after helping the National University (NU) Bullpups to much success during their stay with the team.

Both players shared the opportunity to get an education from the State University as one of the key factors, apart from the school’s basketball program, in deciding to play for the Maroons.

“It’s one of my dreams to study in UP. Education is one of my reasons for picking the school and, of course, the basketball program,” said Tamayo, enrolled as a BS Sports Science major.

“I’m so happy because, as Carl said, UP is my dream school as well. It’s not only about playing basketball but also getting a good education. Basketball is not forever and we really don’t know what will happen after that. It will go a long way if you have a good education to fall back on,” Abadiano, who is taking up BS Tourism, for his part, said.

Getting the commitment to play from the “super juniors,” UP Coach Bo Perasol said they are very thrilled to have the players in the Fighting Maroons’ fold, seeing them as valuable additions to the team and what it wants to accomplish in the UAAP.

“We are very happy to have Carl and Gerry in our team. Coming straight out of high school, they have five full playing years with the team. They will really be a big boost for our young team which is again in the process of rebuilding,” said Mr. Perasol.

In the UAAP last season, 6’7” Tamayo was steady with norms of 11.6 points and 9.3 rebounds in the elimination round. In the finals, he took his numbers to several notches higher with double-double averages of 19 points and 18 rebounds en route to winning the Finals most valuable player award and the championship for the Bullpups.

Guard Abadiano, meanwhile, averaged 11.27 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.33 assists for NU.

Tamayo and Abadiano suited up for Gilas Pilipinas in the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup and they are the latest to join the Fighting Maroons in addition to Jancork Cabahug, RC Calimag, Sam Dowd, Ethan Kirkness, and Miguel Tan as well as transferees Joel Cagulangan and Malick Diouf.

In UAAP Season 82, UP reached the Final Four for the second straight year. The team lost six players to graduation last season and has five players with one playing year left. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo