ATENEO has acquired commitments from Clint Doliguez and John Apacible, two high school stars which the Blue Eagles hope will be major pieces in their bid to reclaim lost glory in the UAAP next season.
Doliguez and Apacible are two standouts from Hope Christian High School who have made waves in the juniors circuit over the last few years and have been heavily recruited by college teams.
Horacio Lim, a member of the Hope Christian High School coaching staff, said Doliguez is already attending the Blue Eagles practices during weekends and will go to college in Katipunan once he graduates from high school.
“Naka-lineup na siya sa Ateneo,” Lim confirmed to Spin.ph. “After graduation, straight na siya sa Ateneo.”
Lim said Apacible will eventually join Doliguez at Ateneo as the Blue Eagles begin the rebuilding process after their run of five successive titles ended when they failed to reach the Final Four last season.
The 6-foot-1 Doliguez has been impressive not only in the highly competitive Metro Manila Tiong Lian Basketball Association (MMTLBA) but in other leagues as well.
He was adjudged Most Valuable Player in the Metro Manila Basketball League (MMBL), National Basketball Training Center (NBTC), and the Philippine Secondary Schools Basketball Championships (PSSBC) while playing against UAAP and NCAA teams.
Apacible, meanwhile, was instrumental in Hope Christian winning the Tiong Lian championship for the first time in 20 years last season.
The 6-foot-3 Apacible made his inside presence during the title-clinching win by grabbing 15 rebounds and had three block shots against a Xavier School side led by Kyles Lao, the Rookie of the Year of the last UAAP season.
Doliguez didn’t see action in the recent Tiong Lian tournament, but led Hope Christian to the NBTC national championship against San Beda earlier this year.
Lim, the former coach of Mapua’s high school and college teams, said Doliguez is expected to play the 2 and 3 spots at Ateneo, while Apacible is expected to boost the frontline of the former five-time league champions.
Ateneo is looking to fill the void left by big men Ryan Buenafe and JP Erram, who played the final year of their college careers last season and are now in the PBA.