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MANILA, Philippines – For the first time since 2011, Paul Desiderio is a champion yet again.
This time around, he did it as a member of the Go for Gold Scratchers, who won the PBA D-League Foundation Cup title after a 100-92 do-or-die Game 5 win against the Che’lu Revellers.
And as the sweet-shooting pride of Cebu hoisted the trophy high amid a rain of confetti, he did it side-by-side with the same man he won his last title with: former FEU Tamaraw Ron Dennison.
Seven years ago, a young Desiderio raised the CESAFI high school trophy as a member of the University of the Visayas Baby Lancers, captained by Dennison.
That would be the last time that the good friends would team up as they went their separate ways upon entering the UAAP. Desiderio committed to the UP Fighting Maroons as Dennison was Morayta-bound for FEU.
The two would then spend their collegiate careers frustrating each other as adversaries, although Dennison almost always had the last laugh, even culminating in a title for the Tamaraws last 2015.
Fast forward to the present, and it seems like nothing has changed. The sharpshooting Desiderio teamed up with the lockdown defender Dennison for the Foundation Cup, and wouldn’t you know it, another title was claimed by the duo.
Of course, Desiderio was nothing short of thankful for the help and challenges Dennison gave him in their D-League stint.
“Ngayon naging teammates kami, so sobrang swerte ko na nag-practice kami, magkasama kami,” he said post-game.
(We became teammates this time, so I’m so lucky that we got to hang out and practice.)
Desiderio also shared that apparently, Dennison did not stop being a headache even now that they’re on the same page.
“Sobrang thankful na kumbaga kahit sa practice pinapahirapan pa rin nya ako at ewan ko ba kung anong nasa utak nya. Praktis na nga yun, pinapahirapan pa ako eh.“
(I was thankful that even at practice, he still gave me a hard time. I don’t know what’s going through his head. It’s already just practice and he was still giving me a hard time.)
At the end of the day, the headache was worth it for them both.
“Sobrang sarap kasi four years nga kaming rival pero yun nga nagkasama kami, champion pa, so sobrang sarap ng feeling.”
(It really feels nice because after four years of rivalry, we won a championship the moment we teamed up again, so it’s a really nice feeling.)
Now going back to the UAAP for Season 81 on September 8, Desiderio hopes to infect his teammates with a winning attitude in his farewell year.
“Dadalhin ko [sa UP] yung attitude ng mga teammates ko na winners talaga,” he said.
(I’ll bring back to UP the attitude of my teammates, who are really nothing but winners.)
Maybe, just maybe, UP’s captain can help nab another title on his way out. – Rappler.com