Gozum vows to put in work to help fulfill high school dream of winning title for UP
Will Gozum joins UP teammates Paul Desiderio and Juan Gomez de Liano at Gilas practice. Jerome Ascano

WILL Gozum may have been goofing around with Paul Desiderio and Juan Gomez de Liaño in between drills during Monday’s Gilas Pilipinas' training. But come the next UAAP season, he hopes to help transform University of the Philippines into a serious title contender.

One of the most sought-after high school players, the 6-foot-6 cager returned home to Diliman years after donning the school's colors as a Junior Maroon alongside the de Liano brothers. But Gozum decided to play for the Mapua Red Robins where he won a title as well as an NCAA MVP plum to end his high school stint.

The 18-year-old Gozum, though, chose to return to the university closest to his heart amid reports of offers from University of Santo Tomas and National University, as he felt he had unfinished business with UP.  

"UP kasi eh. UP eh. Tas andun si Gregorio, mga Gomez De Liaño, magkakasama ulit kami," he said. 

"Nung high school pa lang, sinasabi na namin na balak talaga namin is mag-champion pag college. Yun talaga. Babalik at babalik talaga."

Winning a championship at UP, indeed, doesn't seem farfetched for the Fighting Maroons with Desiderio, Gozum, De Liaño siblings, and reinforcement Bright Akhuetie leading the charge.

 But Gozum knows it will take a lot of work to get to that position. 

 "Basta yung expectation… trabaho lang talaga kami. Yun lang gagawin namin," he said.

 "Trabaho lang. Balak talaga namin is Final Four muna tapos championship talaga." 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @janbballesteros