Deo Cuajao did not want to move out of University of Santo Tomas.
After totaling just 13 points in his rookie season, the 6-foot-1 swingman felt like he was poised for a breakout sophomore year.
And it showed during his two games in the PBA D-League, averaging 17.5 points on 56.3-percent shooting from distance in two games played for Ironcon-UST.
But then the Bicol bubble happened from June to August. The controversy broke out. With the status of UST uncertain, the band decided to simply break up.
“Sobrang pinagpreparahan namin ‘yung season na talaga na ito.
“Kasi ‘di namin na-expect na ganito mangyayari sa amin e. Parang sobrang sakit na sa isang ganon lang, parang nawala lahat ng pinaghirapan namin tapos hiwahiwalay kami ngayon,” Cuajao admitted to 2OT presented by Phenom Sportswear Inc.
It took long before he and good buddy Mark Nonoy decided to leave UST. In Nonoy’s words, “Sa amin nga, last minute na kami nag desisyon kasi inaalam namin kung ano talaga ‘yung mangyayari sa team namin, inaalam namin kung maba-ban or anong mangyayari.”
With time running out, Cuajao and Nonoy needed to make a decision.
And they ended up in La Salle.
For Cuajao, he could not turn down an invitation from a fellow Davaoeño. That compatriot was none other than new Green Archers booster Atty. Mans Carpio.
“Parang magaan sa loob ko talaga kasi, especially nandoon po si Atty. Mans Carpio. Davaoeño din po siya.
“Noong una hindi talaga kami maka-decide kasi ayun nga po, last minute na kami nag-desisyon kasi parang hindi na namin kaya maghintay kasi hindi namin alam kung anong mangyayari sa UST,” shared the product of Holy Child College of Davao.
Unlike in UST, Cuajao — who only arrived in España two weeks before Season 82 — will have ample time to acclimatize to Derrick Pumaren’s system and Taft life.
For Cuajao, the transition won’t be as hard.
“Ayun nga po, excited na po talaga kami. And siguro po sa residency namin dapat ma-adapt na namin ‘yung sistema ni coach Derrick para ready na ready na po. Kasi ‘yung unang dating ko po sa UST, two months na lang bago mag-UAAP kaya hindi ready talaga e. Kulang pa ‘yung oras,” he said.
“Ngayon excited na po ako para maglaro sa La Salle.”
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