ALREADY a feared scorer known for his aggressive drives to the basket, Cebuano wingman Paul Desiderio has become a more-rounded offensive weapon thanks to a renewed commitment to working on his shooting mechanics.
He put that polished shooting stroke to work on Sunday where he scored 42 points highlighted by nine three-pointers to lift University of the Philippines past defending UAAP champion La Salle, 87-79 in the title game of the 2017 Araw ng Davao Invitational at the Almendras Gym.
Desiderio was eventually named tournament MVP.
The Liloan, Cebu-native shared that he started honing his jumper at the conclusion of Season 79 of the UAAP, where he was named part of the Mythical Five after averaging 15.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game for the Fighting Maroons.
He related that it was UP head coach Bo Perasol and Egay Macaraya, his coach at D-League club Cafe France, who advised him to extend his range out to beyond the rainbow arc, to give his defenders a harder time.
“After the UAAP ended, dun na talaga ako nag-focus sa shooting ko. I put up nearly 500 shots every day. Coach Egay and Coach Bo pushed me to work harder on this part of my game since everybody was already defending me for my drives to the basket,” said the one-time Cesafi juniors MVP back in 2011.
“Masaya lang talaga ako na nag-work na talaga yung shooting ko. Ilang months din talaga ako nag pursige na maayos siya,” Desiderio added.
In spite of the Davao success, Desiderio is tempering expectations for the Maroons in the next UAAP season.
“We’re happy about this title but I’m not satisfied. I want us to make it to the Final Four this coming season. We are very optimistic. We can't be sure of anything but as long we prepare enough and give our best, I'm sure we'll go a long way,” said Desiderio.