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Padrigao, Lazaro won’t convince Lebron Lopez to commit to Ateneo

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Tiebreaker Times Padrigao, Lazaro won't convince Lebron Lopez to commit to Ateneo ADMU Basketball News UAAP  UAAP Season 83 Boys Basketball UAAP Season 83 Tab Baldwin Lebron Lopez Joshua Lazaro Forthsky Padrigao Ateneo Men's Basketball Ateneo Boys Basketball

With their senior year in Ateneo High School still up in the air, Grade 12 student-athletes Forthsky Padrigao and Joshua Lazaro remain at peace that they will be leaving the program in good hands.

Their junior Lebron Lopez, who is in Grade 10, has opted to remain in school despite getting an offer to train abroad.

Though not shocked with the 16-year-old’s decision, both Lazaro and Padrigao lauded Lopez’ reason for staying — academics.

Tiebreaker Times Padrigao, Lazaro won't convince Lebron Lopez to commit to Ateneo ADMU Basketball News UAAP  UAAP Season 83 Boys Basketball UAAP Season 83 Tab Baldwin Lebron Lopez Joshua Lazaro Forthsky Padrigao Ateneo Men's Basketball Ateneo Boys Basketball

“For me, it was a good move. Tama ‘yung sinabi niya na gusto niya muna ng diploma, which is a good decision naman talaga,” opined 18-year-old Padrigao.

“Also, may binanggit siya na ‘yung the best power is intelligence. Coming from him, nagulat ako na, ‘Wow! Ganito pala mag-isip si Lebron.’ Kumbaga nagma-mature na siya. I was surprised, okay may bubuga pala ‘yung bata namin dito.”

“Ako, nakaka-proud lang kasi he is thinking long-term at hindi lang siya naka-focus sa basketball. Hearing that from someone as young as him, nakaka-proud na ganun siya mag-isip,” added Lazaro, also 18.

In his first year in Ateneo after transferring from La Salle Green Hills, Lopez dazzled. The 6-foot-4 enigma averaged 16.0 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks per game.

The trio of Lopez, Padrigao, and Lazaro lifted the Blue Eaglets to a Final Four appearance — a feat with the program still recovering from the departure of one Kai Sotto.

Even if Lopez is still just growing into his body, Blue Eagles head coach Tab Baldwin has been in awe of what the Fil-Angolan can do on the floor.

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Tiebreaker Times Padrigao, Lazaro won't convince Lebron Lopez to commit to Ateneo ADMU Basketball News UAAP  UAAP Season 83 Boys Basketball UAAP Season 83 Tab Baldwin Lebron Lopez Joshua Lazaro Forthsky Padrigao Ateneo Men's Basketball Ateneo Boys Basketball

“Lebron is a talent and everybody recognizes that.

“We would like him to enter our program if he finishes with the high school program. We have spoken to him about that, but there’s a lot of water yet to pass that bridge. He has a lot of work to do. He has to do his job academically in high school and on the basketball court. But it’s exciting to see him continue with the Blue and White, and we are very happy with that decision,” said the fifth-year Ateneo head coach.

This early, both Padrigao and Lazaro have pledged that they will continue with their collegiate careers in Ateneo.

But they won’t force Lopez to do the same, since only he knows the right place for himself.

“Ako, hindi ko siya pipilitin. Sasabihin ko lang sa kanya kung ano ‘yung makakatulong sa ‘yo at sa pamilya mo, dun ka pumunta. Ayoko pilitin ‘yung mga bagay na makakatulong sa isang tao,” said Padrigao, who committed to Ateneo back on August 18.

“Siyempre kasi may pinagsamahan kami. Naging teammates kami for one year, puwedeng maging two if matutuloy ‘yung Season 83. Gugustuhin mo ‘yung nakasama mo na ng high school sa college,” continued Lazaro, who just like Lopez is a transferee.

“Hindi naman necessarily na [i]co-convince ko kasi alam naman niya ‘yung pros if he stays in Ateneo or mag-abroad siya. He is mature na nga, like Forthsky said, and he can decide for himself.”

Even Baldwin himself won’t pitch to Lopez in the next two years, since he wants Lopez to enjoy the ride.

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Tiebreaker Times Padrigao, Lazaro won't convince Lebron Lopez to commit to Ateneo ADMU Basketball News UAAP  UAAP Season 83 Boys Basketball UAAP Season 83 Tab Baldwin Lebron Lopez Joshua Lazaro Forthsky Padrigao Ateneo Men's Basketball Ateneo Boys Basketball

As they say, they’ll cross the bridge when they get there.

“We realize that it extends the possibility of him entering our program in the future. And yes, we will be thrilled to have him in our program based on what we are seeing right now.

“But there’s no point in pressuring Lebron, and there’s plenty of time for those things to evolve. He is still a very young kid. So I want him to enjoy his time and be a better basketball player, student, and person. God willing, all of those things fall into place and we are able to give Lebron a positive potential future. Again, no guarantees from any side on what’s going to happen in the future,” stressed Baldwin.

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