A glimpse of the future
Needing to make a late push for the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup playoffs, the Go for Gold Scratchers were able to tap UP Fighting Maroons skipper Paul Desiderio to boost their backcourt.
Initially, Go for Gold’s staff had already been inquiring about Desiderio after Kent Salado tore his ACL during their first game of the season. It was only last Friday when the two camps were able to compromise.
“Well, Paul was actually one of the first persons that I wanted to get when we formed the team, but he had some academic obligations and some injuries at that time,” Go for Gold head coach Charles Tiu told Tiebreaker Times.
“I’m very grateful that Coach Bo [Perasol] allowed him to play for us. So thank you to Coach Bo and the UP management.”
During his fourth year in UP, the 21-year-old combo guard posted norms of 16.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game. Though he barely missed the All-UAAP team, he helped steer UP to a fifth-place finish in the Men’s Basketball tournament.
His joining the Scratchers will be a glimpse of the future, as he will join fellow 23 for 2023 Gilas cadet J-Jay Alejandro.
Still, Desiderio and the Scratchers have a lot of catching up to do. Currently, Go for Gold sit in eighth place with a 4-4 record.
With just three games remaining, Tiu and his staff will have to fast-track integrating Desiderio into their team.
“Paul will be a big boost to us offensively. He’s one of the best players in college basketball now. The challenge will be to integrate him to our team,” admitted Tiu. “It will not be easy. We have a system on offense and defense that he has to adjust to in two practices only.
“It will be very tough and honestly it is a bit of a gamble to make a change this late with short preparation time, but we need to win the last three games to make the playoffs and it’s all or nothing.”
Desiderio will make his debut on Monday, March 12, when the Scratchers take on the Wangs-Letran Couriers at 12:00nn. The game will be held at the JCSGO Gym in Cubao, Quezon City.