La Salle’s Cagulangan set for transfer to UP

Naveen Ganglani
La Salle’s Cagulangan set for transfer to UP
Former NCAA juniors MVP Joel Cagulangan will serve a one-year residency before seeing action for the UP Fighting Maroons in the UAAP

MANILA, Philippines – Former NCAA juniors MVP Joel Cagulangan is set to transfer to the University of the Philippines, a source in the UP administration told Rappler on Sunday, January 12.

The source requested for anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the topic.

Cagulangan played his freshman UAAP season last year with the La Salle Green Archers but had limited playing time under head coach Gian Nazario and consultant Jermaine Byrd.

He will now undergo a year of residency as requirement for UAAP transferees before being eligible to play as a Fighting Maroon in Season 84 come 2021.

The 5-foot-9 Cagulangan averaged nearly 19 points a contest in his final high school season with La Salle Greenhills, but his collegiate career got off to a slow start as he required surgery to repair a torn ligament in his ankle.

Part of a loaded La Salle guard rotation which included Aljun Melecio, Andrei Caracut, Encho Serrano, Jordan Bartlett, and Keyshawn Meeker, Cagulangan played only a handful of games as a rookie and was out of the rotation by the second round of Season 82.

The Archers wound up missing the Final Four for a second consecutive year.

Cagulangan first committed to La Salle after his third year in high school, but following his senior year, rumors swirled that he’s planning to move to UP.

In April 2019, Cagulangan confirmed to ABS-CBN that he would push through with his commitment to play for La Salle.

The source confirmed to Rappler that Cagulangan was indeed interested to move to UP after his high school career.

Two factors allegedly led to his decision to leave La Salle: lack of playing time due to the Green Archers’ deep guard rotation and another reboot of the program following a new head coach hire.

Last week, La Salle announced Derrick Pumaren would take over as head coach.

Pumaren will serve as the Archers’ seventh head coach since 2010, while Byrd will remain to help with the development of recruits.

The Archers are expected to have their first practice under Pumaren on Tuesday, January 14. (READ: A reunion with Derrick Pumaren might be what La Salle needs)

Cagulangan will practice with the Maroons’ Team B during his residency.

A talented shooter with playmaking abilities, his debut will come at the right time, following the likely departure of UP stars Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero after Season 83.

Along with Paras and Rivero, the Gomez de Liaño brothers and the debuting one-and-done prospect Sammy Dowd from Idaho are expected to banner UP’s 2020 campaign. 

Aside from Cagulangan, Season 84 will also mark the arrival of the Maroons’ new foreign student-athlete, 20-year-old Malick Diouf, who played for Pumaren at the Centro Escolar University.

Cagulangan is the latest student-athlete to transfer to another UAAP school.

Just this past weekend, it was confirmed that Dave Ildefonso, the son of former PBA MVP Danny Ildefonso, is returning to Ateneo following a reboot of the NU coaching staff, which led to the departure of his dad.

His brother, Shaun Ildefonso, will remain with the Bulldogs for his final season of eligibility.

Recently, it was also announced that UP lost former NCAA juniors MVP Will Gozum, who plans to transfer to another school after spending the last two years with the Maroons.

According to the source, Gozum, a 6-foot-7 big man, departed UP on “good terms.”

Both UP and La Salle are scheduled to participate in the upcoming PBA D-League. – Rappler.com

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