UAAP Basketball

Bursting at the seams: Loaded UP loses another prospect as Luis Pablo returns to La Salle

JR Isaga

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Bursting at the seams: Loaded UP loses another prospect as Luis Pablo returns to La Salle

COMING HOME. Former UP big man Luis Pablo poses for a photo with La Salle.


The stacked UP men's basketball team suffers its third de-commitment in a month's span, as prospect big man Luis Pablo hops in on the La Salle homecoming trend

MANILA, Philippines – The UP Fighting Maroons may have attracted too much talent for their own good.

After a series of de-commitments from high school prospects like Jared Bahay and Chris Hubilla, the UAAP Season 84 men’s basketball champions have lost another project in their midst as big man Luis Pablo heads home to the La Salle Green Archers after just his college rookie season.

“I wanted to show off what I can really do,” the 19-year-old said in Filipino in a statement. “It’s exciting to think that I will be given a chance to showcase my skills more.”

“I just need to make sure I can really show my skills and I will go beyond the people’s expectations, especially my own.”

Despite then being a newly crowned NCAA juniors MVP, Pablo hardly played in UP’s loaded frontline led by former MVP Malick Diouf and eventual Rookie of the Year Francis Lopez.

Alongside fellow former La Salle Green Hills star Seven Gagate, the 6-foot-7 Pablo only averaged 1.5 points and 1.8 rebounds in just a hair above 9 minutes per game.

Even with Diouf graduating from the program, new foreign student-athlete (FSA) Dikachi Udodo and former UE standout Gani Stevens are now eligible for Season 87, likely leaving the likes of Pablo and Gagate still without much wiggle room in head coach Goldwin Monteverde’s rotation.

The likes of Aldous Torculas, Sean Alter, Mark Belmonte, Chicco Briones, and Miguel Yniguez will also fight for frontcourt minutes moving forward.

La Salle, meanwhile, currently only has reigning MVP Kevin Quiambao, Michael Phillips, Raven Cortez, and new FSA Henry Agunnane manning the frontlines for Season 88, if ever they commit beyond 2024.

“First of all, we’re very very excited that he’s considering coming back to De La Salle,” said team official Awoo Lacson. “He’s one of our sons in our La Salle program and we want them back. We want them to play for us. We want to win with them. It’s our commitment to help them become winners.”

Other La Salle “sons” who have since returned to Taft are star guards Jacob Cortez, formerly of San Beda, and Kean Baclaan, formerly of NU.

“I think Luis’ abilities cannot be measured at this point. He is full of potential. He will be able to mature to become a very dependable veteran. I think he’s going to help our program be successful for the years to come,” Lacson continued.

Among other seldom-used bench players who have since left the UP program are big man JB Lina and guard RC Calimag, both now with the NCAA’s San Beda Red Lions.

Further back down the line, burly forward Will Gozum also left UP after not seeing much playing time and blossomed with College of St. Benilde as an eventual NCAA MVP.

The Fighting Maroons, however, will still parade top recruit and Season 86 Mythical Five member Noy Remogat come Season 88, unless plans also change. –

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