UP slasher Paul Desiderio thanks Cafe France coach for adding deadly shooting to his arsenal
Paul Desiderio has shot more threes at a more efficient clip in just six games with Cafe France. Jaime Campos

CAFEFRANCE is transforming Paul Desiderio into a complete player on offense, and the University of the Philippines standout is only thankful about the team’s effort to help him improve in his stint in the PBA D-League.

With the UAAP in its offseason, Desiderio signed up with the Bakers in the Aspirants Cup after being selected by the squad in the PBA D-League draft last December.

So far, Desiderio is making the most out of his stint with CafeFrance as he is learning new things under head coach Egay Macaraya, who is making an effort to add another weapon to the UP star’s offensive arsenal.

“Sobrang laki ng exposure kasi known ako as an attacker, dito naman binabago ako ni coach Egay,” said Desiderio during an interview with SPIN.ph after the Bakers’ practice at the Lumera Towers in Manila.

Incidentally, Macaraya was a deadly three-point shooter during his playing days with San Sebastian back in the 1980s.

“More on shooting ‘yung dinedevelop ni coach Egay sa akin. Malaking pasasalamat ko kay coach Egay sa tiwala niya sa akin,” Desiderio added.

CafeFrance’s decision to have Desiderio shoot more from the outside has been reflecting in his statistics. In six games for the Bakers this conference, Desiderio has already converted 18 three-point shots, eight more than the total triples he made in 14 games for UP in Season 79 of the UAAP.

Desiderio has also improved his proficiency from outside the arc, shooting 41 percent from threes, as compared to last season in the UAAP when he made just 26 percent from the outside.

The turnaround of Desiderio, along with his improved defensive skills, only bodes well for UP, which is eyeing nothing but the Final Four in Season 80 following a respectable effort last year when it finished with a 5-9 win-loss record and was in contention for a postseason berth for a good part of their campaign.

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Macaraya said having Desiderio become an outside shooter will help his ability to be a very good attacker to the basket.

“Paul is a very good slasher. Right now, he is developing his three-point shooting. If you are a good slasher, most of the time, umaatras ‘yung depensa waiting for you to attack. If may three points ka na, mas madali na siyang maging slasher,” said Macaraya.

With Desiderio in the fold, CafeFrance remained as one of the top teams in the PBA D-League, having a 5-1 win-loss record so far in the Aspirants Cup despite the Bakers’ core from season’s past having moved on to the PBA ranks.

“Hindi naman kami nagkamali sa pagpili sa kanya,” said Macaraya. 

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