Rookie Desiderio to have long PBA career, says Blackwater coach

MANILA, Philippines – It may be too early for now but Blackwater head coach Bong Ramos has vouched that Paul Desiderio will stay in the PBA for a long time.

Ramos heaped praises on his prized rookie for showing heart even after Blackwater was blown out by Phoenix by 19 points in the 2019 Philippine Cup on Friday, February 1. 

"Si Desiderio kasi nakikita ko marami pang igagaling. Tatagal ang buhay niya sa PBA. Tatagal pa 'yan. Medyo mahiyain pa," Ramos said of Desiderio after the game. 

(I can see that Desiderio can play better. He will have a long PBA career. He's just shy.) 

"Sinasabihan na namin, atakihin mo, tirahan mo. Makikita mo, hindi naman duwag. Pero panira na, ayaw itira. Pero kanina noong nakita niyang tambak na kami, ayun, bumigay na." 

(We're always telling him to attack and shoot over his defenders. You can see that he's not afraid, but there are shots that he should have already taken. But when we were already down big, he already gave in and scored at will.) 

The former UP Fighting Maroon was limited to just 3 points in the first 3 quarters that saw the Elite get buried by as much as 37 points before flipping the switch in the final frame.

He scored 9 points in the payoff period and together with fellow rookie Abu Tratter helped Blackwater narrow the gap to as close as 14 points.

Desiderio finished with 12 points, 2 assists, 1 rebound and 1 steal in 30 minutes and is averaging 6.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 4 games. 

However, it's not Desiderio's ability to put the ball in the hoop that made Ramos believe he will last in the league, but his willingness to play defense. 

"Dumidepensa, rumi-rebound. Laki ng puso eh. Kahit di siya shumu-shoot, malaki 'yung puso niya sa depensa. Tapos makikita mo kukuha ng defensive rebound, ng offensive rebound. Ang galing," Ramos said. 

(He plays defense and fights for rebounds. He has a big heart. Even though he doesn't shoot the ball, he he has a big heart on defense. He gets offensive and defensive rebounds. He's a good kid.) 

"May depensa na siya as individual player. Ang dami daming player 'di marunong dumepensa eh. Shoot lang nang shoot. Sikat na kasi may score. Pero depensa, kaming mga player tinitingnan namin 'yun eh." 

(He already has defense as an individual player. There are plenty of players who don't know how to defend and just know how to shoot. They feel that they're famous because they can score. But defense, we notice that.) 

Now at 1-3, Blackwater looks to regain its winning ways when it meets reigning four-time all-Filipino champion San Miguel on Wednesday, February 6, at the Mall of Asia Arena. –

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.