Letran opened its walls to the prodigal sons of its sister school University of Santo Tomas.
Former Growling Tigers Rhenz Abando, Brent Paraiso, and Ira Bataller were welcomed to the Knights by head coach Bonnie Tan and Letran’s special assistant to the rector for sports development Alfrancis Chua, Tuesday afternoon.
The trio left UST last week after the team figured in controversy. And when they asked if they could find a new home, Tan, Chua, and the rest of the team’s management and staff opened the walls of Letran for them.
“Being Thomasians, Coach Alfrancis Chua and I did not turn a blind eye when these three young players were knocking and asking if Letran could be their new home,” said Tan, who is entering his second year as Knights head coach.
“After all, Letran and UST are sister schools.”
For the past five years, Letran has become a home of former blue-chip recruits that could not find their niche in the UAAP. There’s the likes of former DLSU Green Archer Larry Muyang, the UE Red Warriors duo of Fran Yu and Bonbon Batiller, and now the three former Growling Tigers.
Abando, Paraiso, and Bataller all bring plenty of skill to the table for the stacked Knights.
Six-foot-two Abando dazzled in his sole year in University of Santo Tomas, averaging 11.71 points, 5.29 rebounds, and a team-high 1.29 blocks in 17 games played. He was a key piece in the Growling Tigers’ second-place finish in UAAP Season 82.
Paraiso, a 22-year-old swingman who stands at 6-foot-2, was pivotal in UST’s second-place finish in the UAAP Season 82 tournament. He averaged 7.2 points on 32-percent shooting from deep to go along with 4.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists.
On the other hand, 6-foot-4 Bataller had 14 starts for UST last season and averaged 1.88 points, 2.88 rebounds, and 1.12 assists per game.
“Their addition is certainly a huge boost to our program, as they also bring their experiences to our championship core. Our team management, staff, and I have also done our homework on how we can easily integrate them into our team,” continued Tan.
Tan can’t wait to see what the trio can bring to the Knights.
“We definitely can’t wait to work with them once we can return to the gym. But for now, we will guide them to becoming true Letranistas.”