RICHARD Escoto will stay with Far Eastern University for college but his availability for the senior team for Season 77 of the UAAP remains uncertain due to his stint with the national team in the Fiba Under-17 Championship for Men this year.
FEU coach Nash Racela said the Baby Tamaraws big man has committed to remain with FEU for college, boosting a badly depleted seniors squad that has lost top stars Terrence Romeo and RR Garcia to the professional ranks.
Escoto, listed at 6-foot-6, is the brother of FEU big man Russell and averaged 8.9 points and a team-best 9.8 rebounds for the Baby Tamaraws last year.
“He made a decision to stay with FEU,” said Racela.
Racela, however, isn’t promising the FEU-Diliman slotman a spot in the lineup next season, more so since he is part of the national team that will fly the flag in the world under-17 championships in Dubai from August 8 to 16.
The 16-year-old Escoto could skip Season 77 altogether due to the possibility that he can also be tapped for the Fiba-Asia Under-18 championship set days after the world championship, both tournaments coinciding with the UAAP season.
The Asian Under-18 tilt will be on August 19-29 in Doha.
“As to him making it to the lineup, hindi pa rin namin masasabi kasi may commitment din siya sa youth team,” Racela said. “Kailangan pa namin pag-usapan, pero may slot siya sa seniors (team).”
Escoto, whose Baby Tams finished fourth last season, suited up for the national team when the then Under-16 squad finished second in the Asian championship last year to book a spot in the Under-17 world title.
The youth squad was recently bracketed with powerhouse United States, Angola, and Greece in the world championship.
Racela said that Escoto will definitely have a spot for him in FEU even after he plays for the national youth squad this year.
“Pinag-aaralan din namin what’s good for him,” Racela said.
Even if he skips the coming season, Richard will still get a chance to play together with Russell at FEU since his older brother still has two seasons left with the team. Russell missed Season 76 due to an ACL tear.