UAAP Basketball

Prized UP recruits Pablo, Gagate look to fill void left by Tamayo, Lucero 

Philip Matel
Prized UP recruits Pablo, Gagate look to fill void left by Tamayo, Lucero 

BIG MEN. Luis Pablo (left)and Seven Gagate take their talents to the UAAP.

NBTC

‘What's great here in terms of acquiring big men, they aren't the kind of traditional big men that we see,’ says UP head coach Goldwin Monteverde of LSGH twin towers Luis Pablo and Seven Gagate

MANILA, Philippines – The arrival of the talented duo of Luis Pablo and Seven Gagate couldn’t come at a better time for the UP Fighting Maroons. 

With the departure of Carl Tamayo and Zavier Lucero, Pablo and Gagate can certainly fill the void left by the two teams stars.

Pablo, the NCAA Season 98 juniors MVP, and Gagate, a Mythical Team member, moved to Diliman last week to suit up for the Maroons in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament next season.

La Salle Green Hills’ towering tandem was also joined by teammate Josh Coronel, but he won’t suit up just yet due to an injury. 

“What’s great here in terms of acquiring big men, they aren’t the kind of traditional big men that we see,” said UP head coach Goldwin Monteverde of Pablo and Gagate, who are both eligible to play in UAAP Season 86 later this year.

“These are bigs that could really play inside and out, very versatile, and we could really take advantage of when it comes to offense, and at the same time we see their impact as well on defense.”

The Maroons – who also secured the commitment of former Ateneo high school standout Francis “Lebron” Lopez – lost Tamayo, who opted to play professionally in the Japan B. League, and Lucero, who exhausted his eligible playing years.

“For me it’s not pressure, it’s more on excitement… it’s because coach views us differently from his past players like Carl and Zavier,” said Pablo.

“Whatever role is given to me, I will ensure to make the most of it to help the team and the goal is to win the title even in our rookie year.” 

Pablo averaged 17.6 points, 13.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.2 blocks during his MVP run, while Gagate registered 15.6 markers, 12.9 boards, 2.7 dimes, and 1.7 rejections a game.

Coronel, on the other hand, is not expected to play soon as he continues to recover from an ACL injury that kept him sidelined during the recent campaign of the Greenies.

Like UP’s fate in the last UAAP men’s basketball championship, the Greenies were at the losing end to eventual champions Letran, which swept the NCAA juniors best-of-three title series.

“We are much more determined and hungry to win, we saw many weaknesses during the finals, and we are eager to improve and win [in the UAAP],” said Pablo.

“What I learned in the NCAA is when it comes to crunch time, we need to adopt a mindset that says you are willing to win.” 

The two 6-foot-8 standouts were ranked among the top high school basketball players in the country in the NBTC 24 list, where Pablo was rated second overall, and Gagate at No. 5. – Rappler.com

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