Desiderio raring to play amid trade rumors: 'Kahit saan mapunta'
MANILA, Philippines – The 2018 PBA Rookie Draft was going as expected for the first 3 picks.
That is, until NLEX coach Yeng Guiao took to the mic and uttered some familiar words:
"Amin na 'to." (This is ours.)
With the 4th pick, the Road Warriors rode the hype train and snagged UP folk hero Paul Desiderio, much to the surprise of teams, fans and media in attendance.
However, not long after the former UP captain joined the UP alum head coach and former teammate Kyles Lao in the squad, reports have surfaced that NLEX has traded Desiderio and 7th overall pick Abu Tratter to Blackwater Elite for star big man Poy Erram. Spin.ph first reported on the development.
Still, the new Diliman legend is just ready to go, regardless of what colors he would wear in his debut game.
"Kahit saan ako mapunta, lalaban ako," he said after getting drafted on Sunday, December 16, at Robinsons Place Manila. "Kung ite-trade man ako o hindi, lalaban ako sa kung ano mang team."
(I'll fight no matter where I go. Whether I get traded or not, I'll fight no matter what my team will be.)
Desiderio rose to massive fame after leading the Fighting Maroons to their first UAAP finals berth in 32 years.
Despite losing in a 0-2 sweep against eventual champion Ateneo Blue Eagles, Desiderio heads to the PBA with no regrets.
"Napakasaya. Kumpleto na yung Pasko ko," he beamed. "Masaya ako na na-pick pa ako ng early. Pero gagawin ko yung best ko na ma-prove kay coach na tama yung pili niya."
(I'm so happy. My Christmas is complete. I'm happy that I got picked early. I'll do my best to prove to coach that he picked correctly.)
Now that he has left the collegiate program that developed him for 6 years, the 6-foot guard is ecstatic that his draft stock would further help the once-floundering Maroons squad become an even hotter destination for upcoming prospects.
"Sobrang saya ko dahil nakita ko na lahat ng player sa UP napili," he said. "Sobrang laking boost nito sa programa namin at nag-improve talaga."
(I'm really happy that all UP players were chosen. This is a really big boost to the program and it really Improved.)
If he stays in NLEX, Desiderio will have Lao, a former UAAP Rookie of the Year, by his side. But if he moves on to Blackwater, he will join fellow UP captain Diego Dario in a loaded Elite backcourt.
Nothing is final, but whatever the case will be, #AtinTo has arrived in the PBA. – Rappler.com