SEVERAL names have cropped up on the probable make-up of Ateneo's team next season. But for Blue Eagles coach Bo Perasol, the immediate goal is to gather all the players in practice.
The sooner, the better.
Perasol's Blue Eagles will be parading a heavily revamped team next season, after the graduation of JP Erram, Ryan Buenafe, Frank Golla, and Juami Tiongson left the team with a gaping hole in the middle and without its most reliable point guard from last season.
Among those set to come in to beef up Ateneo's roster is Arvin Tolentino, the San Beda Red Cubs star who is widely regarded as the best high school player in the country today, as well as Hope Christian School standouts Clint Doliguez and John Apacible and Blue Eaglets star Thirdy Ravena.
They Said It!
“I need to see them practicing with me. Kailangan nila maka-commit early para maka-ensayo kami agad. Bata kasi ‘yung magiging team namin next season, so we need to prepare as early as possible." - Ateneo coach Bo Perasol
Perasol declined to confirm or deny reports that Tolentino and Co. have already committed to join the Blue Eagles next season, leaving it up to team management to make the announcement.
But as far as he is concerned, Perasol said he wants all the new recruits to official confirm as early as possible so he can begin the task of putting all the pieces together.
“I need to see them practicing with me. Kailangan nila maka-commit early para maka-ensayo kami agad," said Perasol. "Bata kasi ‘yung magiging team namin next season, so we need to prepare as early as possible.”
Tolentino and Apacible are expected to make up the Blue Eagles' new frontline following the departure of Erram, Buenafe and Golla while Ravena and Doliguez will not only boost the team's arsenal but also represent the future for the former five-time champions.
As Perasol himself pointed out, Ateneo's resident star Kiefer Ravena has only two years of eligibility left while the team's other major scorer, Chris Newsome, is entering his final year with the team.
Thirdy and Doliguez, therefore, will have the opportunity to learn as understudies of Ravena and Newsome before taking over in the future.
“Kiefer has two years left, Chris only has one. We really need new players,” stressed Perasol.
On the other hand, former back-up Nico Elorde is expected to take over the playmaking chores from Tiongson before prized recruit Jerie Pingoy finally becomes eligible in the 2015 season.