Nicael Cabañero will continue on with his studies at University of Santo Tomas.
This as the 6-foot-2 athletic guard has committed to the Growling Tigers, Wednesday evening.
Going to Lapu-Lapu City on Wednesday to formalize the commitment were head coach Jinino Manansala, team manager Ryan Roxas, and assistant coaches McJour Luib and Joph Cleopas.
Last year, Cabañero transferred from San Beda High to UST High in hopes of playing in UAAP Season 83. However, the ongoing pandemic forced the league to stop play.
Still, it did not stop him from continuing his journey with UST.
“First of all, ‘yung school maganda at ‘yung basketball program, although revamp kami ngayon, naniniwala ako na mababalik namin ‘yung trono sa UST,” he told Tiebreaker Times.
The native of Lapu-Lapu City first started off with Sacred Heart School – Ateneo de Cebu. He later transferred to San Beda during his Grade 10 year.
During NCAA Season 95, he averaged 6.2 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 0.9 steals in 12 games played.
He was also a former MVP in the Milcu Got Skills Under-15 division and an NCAA champion.
2020 would have been his showcase year. But that did not stop him from looking ahead to the next four to five years of his young career.
“Mawawalan ka ng pag-asa e. Ako finocus ko na lang yung future. Sabi ko sa college na lang ako babawi.”
Other schools that sent wanted to recruit include San Beda and Ateneo. But for Cabañero — who only received a pair of shoes, scholarship, and a stay at the team’s dorm — he wanted to be part of something special in UST.
Cabanero acknowledges that there will be pressure on him and the school’s other recruits to restore the glory of the school. But for him, he, Jordi Gomez de Liaño, Royce Mantua, LA Casinillo, Kean Baclaan, among others have what it takes to rebuild the school’s program brick by brick.
“Although hindi namin iniisip na bata kami, I think may purpose talaga sila pa sa amin to rebuild ‘yung program.”