STILL recovering from an ACL injury and currently in the unrestricted free agent list, Paul Desiderio decided to retire from playing in the PBA.
SPIN.ph learned that Desiderio on Monday told Blackwater management of his decision to walk away from basketball after his name was taken off a three-team trade also involving NLEX and TNT.
Desiderio said he’s going back to his native Cebu, allow his ACL injury to fully heal, and then start a new life.
“For now I will end my PBA career and magpa-galing sa injury ko sa Cebu,” Desiderio told top brass of the Bossing, according to a team insider.
The decision of Desiderio to hang up his jersey at age 25 came just after his name was taken out of the three-team trade among TNT, Blackwater, and NLEX that would have brought the former UP Maroons star to the Road Warriors camp.
But the PBA trade committee revised the trade proposal since Desiderio is still rehabilitating from the ACL injury he suffered prior to the start of Season 47 and instead, threw in two second round picks (2022 and 2025) in his place.
The year had been a trying season for the Cebuano guard.
Shortly after agreeing to a new, one-year deal with the Bossing, Desiderio went down with an ACL injury in a tuneup game against TNT Tropang Giga just five days before the league's Season 47 kicks off.
He was later declared out for the entire season.
Then last July, Desiderio got involve in a domestic abuse accusation made by his wife Agatha Uvero.
Desiderio's remaining contract will lasts until December and Blackwater said it is willing to wait for him until he dully recovers.
But the no. 4 overall pick in the 2018 draft famous for his memorable line 'Atin ito,' said he's ready to move on.
"Focus na muna talaga ako sa healing ko at magsimula na ng bago kong puwedeng gawin," Desiderio said.
The player didn't forget to express his gratitude to Blackwater management for giving him the opportunity to live out his PBA dream that lasted for three seasons.
Before turning pro, Desiderio was a highly-sought player in the amateurs, coming out as an outstanding high school player from the University of the Visayas.
Prior to University of the Philippines winning the UAAP men's basketball championship last summer, Desiderio steered the Fighting Maroons to their first finals appearance in 32 years, only to lose against the Ateneo Blue Eagles via a two-game sweep.
Desiderio was also a key player for the Gilas Pilipinas Youth team that finished runner-up in the FIBA Asia U-16 Championship and qualified for the 2014 FIBA U-17 World Championship.
Curiously, Desiderio was under the radar of Philippine men's team coach Chot Reyes that he included the Cebuano player in his list of '23 for 2023' training pool for the country's campaign in the 2023 FIBA World Cup.