PAUL Desiderio believes playing in a D-League team loaded with veterans has helped with his mental toughness, a big boost as he tries to help lead University of the Philippines to the semifinals of the UAAP.
"Yung maturity ko sa court, yun ang pinakanatutunan ko dito," said Desiderio, the Maroons backcourt leader who gladly worked behind former pros Jai Reyes and James Martinez at Go for Gold.
“Malaki ang naitulong ng mga kasama kong beterano dito kasi nanggaling na sila sa PBA. Nakatulong sila sa akin para mas mag-mature ang laro ko at sa kanila ko natutunan yung leadership sa court," he explained.
Though Desiderio has largely been silent this conference, averaging just 9.0 points, 4.71 rebounds, and 2.43 assists, he saved his best for last.
The Cebuano dribbler, playing in likely his last game with the Scratchers before leaving with the Maroons for a training camp in Serbia, had 17 points, four rebounds and three assists in the big win over CEU.
"Ngayon, natutunan kong maging team player. Sana makatulong to para makapasok kami sa playoffs," he said as the Diliman dribblers enter the collegiate season with grand goals in mind.
But Desiderio isn’t willing to close this chapter of his career just yet, telling coach Charles Tiu that if ever the Scratchers make it far in the playoffs, he'd be happy to play with them again.
"Sabi ko kay coach Charles, kung makapasok kami sa Finals, pwede pa akong maglaro sa Go for Gold ulit," he said.
With Kate Reyes