In the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons’ bid to reclaim UAAP glory, new head coach Goldwin Monteverde is looking to tap on new recruit Henry Galinato’s experience.
Filipino-American Galinato will be joining the Maroons, which last made it to the UAAP finals in 2018, as a one-and-done player after seeing action in US collegiate hoops for four years.
Based on his experience competing in NAIA basketball for the Benedictine University Mesa Redhawks in the last two years, Galinato hopes that the leadership role he took then would translate to his stint in the state university team.
“I think UP is a better fit for me and I could create more impact there because they’re young,” said Galinato, who was also in the radar of the University of the East and Adamson University.
“When I played out here [in the US] on my last year, I had a young team as well and I had a big impact on my young team too. So I feel like going over there, I could mentor some of the guys and they could teach a few things to me as well.”
Though Galinato has not started training with the team, he shared that UP rookie and Gilas star Carl Tamayo reached out to him as soon as the recruitment was confirmed.
“I’ve only talked to one of [my teammates]. Carl messaged me and he welcomed me,” the 24-year-old told reporters in a press conference on Saturday, October 23.
Having lived and grown up in the US all his life, this will be Galinato’s first international stint.
But the forward already got an idea of how Philippine basketball after a conversation with six-time PBA champion Ali Peek in 2018. The five-time PBA All-Star encouraged Galinato to pursue a playing career in the country.
“I remember talking to Ali Peek a few years ago and he was already talking to me about going out there, but I didn’t end up going. He is one person I follow a lot,” said Galinato, who also puts the PBA as his goal.
Galinato, whose father hails from Ilocos Sur, is also confident that he will be able to adjust to Filipino culture because his hometown in Delano, California has a big Filipino-Mexican population.
The 6-foot-6 Fil-Am started playing basketball in Cesar Chavez High School, where he was a former jumper on the track and field team.
He played at Bakersfield Community College before transferring to Benedictine University Mesa, where he averaged 13 points, 9.6 rebounds, and nearly one block a game in his senior year. – Rappler.com