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MANILA, Philippines – The St. Benilde Blazers acquired transferee Shawn Umali, who was leaving Lyceum after three years with the Pirates.
The forward-center emerged as a force in NCAA Season 99, averaging 11 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.6 blocks, and 1 steal through the elimination round and helped the Pirates reach the Final Four as the second seed.
Lyceum, though, lost to eventual champion San Beda despite toting a twice-to-beat advantage.
Umali, who will be eligible to play two more seasons starting NCAA Season 101 in 2025, will try to fill the void in the paint left by former NCAA Most Valuable Player Will Gozum.
The Blazers also lost gunner Migs Oczon, who took his act to the Korean Basketball League.
“Shawn has been one of the best bigs in the NCAA. I know a lot of schools were calling him and very aggressive in recruiting him, but I am glad he chose our school,” College of Saint Benilde head coach Charles Tiu said in a message on Monday, February 5.
“I guess the big factor was wanting the La Salle education.”
The 6-foot-3 Umali was wooed by Emilio Aguinaldo College, his high school alma mater Letran, San Beda, and several UAAP schools, according to a team source.
Umali bid farewell to Lyceum last February 3.
“From the moment I entered LPU, I have been welcomed with open arms and genuine warmth. The support and encouragement from each one of you have made my journey here a memorable one,” Umali wrote on Instagram.
“Being a Pirate has taught me the value of teamwork, perseverance, and resilience. As I reflect on my time at LPU, I am very much grateful for the opportunities, memories, and friendships that have enriched my playing career and my life.” – Rappler.com