SECURING an Ateneo diploma is the biggest thing in the mind of Lebron Lopez as of now.
"I'm staying put in Ateneo to continue my studies. I want to be an honor student and it's my priority to get my Ateneo diploma," he said on Wednesday.
Lopez, 16, has enrolled in Ateneo High School and is currently in 10th grade. He has started attending his online classes since last week.
That means that he has to hold off his plans of training overseas.
Back in August, Lopez was linked to be the latest signee for East West Private, which would have put him side-by-side with Kai Sotto, Sage Tolentino, and Cholo Anonuevo as the firm's trainees in Cincinnati, Ohio.
However, Lopez said that his academics in Ateneo is his top priority.
"My whole family taught me the importance of education. I want to get my Ateneo diploma and I will work hard for it," said the 6-foot-5 forward, who previously played for La Salle Greenhills.
It's a decision that truly made his guardians very happy.
"We are here to guide him lang," said uncle Felipe. "Napakabait po niya sa amin lalo na sa auntie niya at sa kapatid niya. Kaya our prayer po ay patuloy syang gabayan and that he will finish school and be successful. Project ko po yan sa kanilang magkapatid."
Aunt Leonila added: "Suporta lang kami palagi at dasal na si Francis ay makatapos at maging successful, masaya na kami."
Lopez still has two more playing years in the high school division, keeping the Blue Eaglets among the contenders in the UAAP boys basketball wars.
Although plans for him to go to the US has been shelved, the Fil-Angolan high-flyer believes that he can still maximize his potential here under the Ateneo basketball program.
"I will continue to aspire to be the best basketball player that I can be. I'm sure Ateneo has a plan and will help me achieve that. Wala pong substitute ang magandang education because I believe that for me to be able to be the best, I need the most important aspect: intelligence," he said.