A CHANCE to team up with his former Gilas Pilipinas Youth peers is just an opportunity too hard to pass up for Bismarck Lina.
It's the reason why he chose to head to University of the Philippines in the fallout from the University of Santo Tomas' controversial Bicol bubble.
"Yung UP, makakasama ko rin po yung former teammates ko sa Batang Gilas," he said after sealing his commitment to UP on Monday.
Lina is the newest member of the Fighting Maroons, reuniting him with his former national youth team peers Carl Tamayo, Gerry Abadiano and RC Calimag.
The 6-foot-5 forward said it was still a hard decision for him to leave given his family's well documented connection with UST.
But in the end, the change was just necessary for his own growth.
"Mahirap na desisyon ito kasi yung pamilya ko, talagang mga Tomasino sila. Si kuya Kevin (Ferrer), alam naman natin ang mga nagawa niya sa UST. Pati yung isa ko pang pinsan na si Vince, naglaro rin sa UST," he said.
"Pero nung kinausap ko ang pamilya ko, nakapag-decide kami na lumipat ako ng ibang school. Mahirap man ang desisyon na ginawa namin, pero kailangan."
Lina couldn't be any more grateful to UST for opening the doors for him, and the 19-year-old said that he will always carry the learnings he gained as a part of the Tiger Cubs.
"Matagal din akong naglaro sa UST and kahit high school lang ako naglaro doon, talagang binigay ko ang lahat para sa school," he said. "Ipapangako ko na kahit nasa UP na ako, dala ko pa rin ang UST sa bawat laro, bawat ensayo, at bawat klase na sasalihan ko."
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