University of the Philippines made sure to have its own fireworks on the night Ateneo de Manila University held its annual bonfire on Saturday evening.
The men’s basketball team announced that it has secured the commitment of Francis Lopez, a Grade 12 student who previously studied at Ateneo High School and had been training with the Blue Eagles over the past few months.
In a statement released by the 19-year-old highflyer, he said that he needed to find stability. And it is what led him to UP.
“After spending quality time with family and close friends during the holidays, it has given me the opportunity to seriously take stock of my life as well as the options available for my future, both for my education, and basketball career,” he said, noting that he had talks with his dad and his grandmother.
“As everyone knows, I played basketball in La Salle and Ateneo during my junior years which was severely affected by the pandemic. I will always be grateful to both schools for honing my early years. My basketball path has been unpredictable for the past two years as I finish my high school education. Life has thrown curveballs and a few distractions that have made me a stronger and better person,” he continued.
“After a series of heart-to-heart discussions with my family and mentors, I have decided to join UP for my college education and basketball career.”
Though he was able to get 1/4 of the promised amount in order for OTE to use his image and likeness, he was not able to fly to Atlanta, Georgia, and join the league due to him not being able to secure a US visa.
Lopez has since been a pool player for Gilas while finishing his secondary school studies.
On Wednesday, Lopez decided to move from Katipunan to Diliman.
Now, he hopes that UP will straighten his path before charting his next move in becoming a pro player.
“UP is a great institution with a very good basketball program and management group. I know deep in my heart that the UP No Where to Go But UP Foundation will take care of me as a student and as an athlete,” he said.
“Let me take this opportunity to thank my Gilas Pilipinas teammate Carl Tamayo for the guidance and great stories that made me realize want I to pursue my college education in UP.”