MANILA, Philippines – Despite interest from professional teams in Taiwan, there’s confidence within University of the Philippines that Filipino-American standout Zavier Lucero will play his final season of eligibility with the Fighting Maroons.
“Zavier is committed to stay with us in UP,” said basketball program director Bo Perasol.
“Being an excellent player as he is, Zav will definitely get offers not only from Taiwan but from other countries as well. It will be his last playing season this October.”
The next season is set to kick off in October, with the Maroons aiming for back-to-back crowns after ending a 36-year UAAP basketball title drought by stunning the mighty Ateneo Blue Eagles.
Trusted sources told Rappler that two Taiwan-based teams are aggressively pursuing the 6-foot-7 Lucero. Talks are ongoing, with a final decision expected within a couple of weeks.
The T1 League and P. League + are two popular professional basketball leagues in Taiwan, while the Super Basketball League is considered semi-professional.
Taiwan joins Korea and Japan as Asian countries with basketball programs that are looking at Filipino talent to strengthen their respective clubs.
Sources also indicated there’s still a “good chance” Lucero remains a Fighting Maroon for one more season.
UP team manager Agaton Uvero confirmed to Rappler that there have been “feelers” for Lucero coming from Taiwan, but the program is under the impression Lucero will play in Season 85, which was their understanding following last season’s conclusion.
Lucero visited home in California after the finals and is expected to return to the Philippines soon.
A key cog in UP’s run to the UAAP title, Lucero averaged 12.8 points, 8 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1 block per contest to earn a spot in the Mythical Five. – Rappler.com