UNIVERSITY of the Philippines may be losing left and right now, but it's certainly building for the future.
In a bid to beef up its thin frontline with prospective talents in the seasons to come, the Maroons have tapped the services of renowned trainer Joe Ward, who at present is currently training two bigs from UP’s Team B.
Coach Rey Madrid admitted the program aims to improve the two players’ skills, in the hope of turning them into crucial pieces when they become eligible to play in the UAAP as early as next year.
Madrid declined to reveal the names of the players, only saying that one is a 6-foot-5 Filipino, and the other a 6-foot-7 African.
“We enrolled a couple of Team B players sa kanya hoping that they can improve and make the most out of the offseason to be ready for next season,” said the controversial UP mentor.
Ward has been attending UP games of late including the Maroons’ recent game against University of the East.
“Isang Pinoy at isang African. Malaking bagay para sa amin,” said Madrid.
Ward, a former skills coach of Barangay Ginebra, has trained several players in the PBA including members of the Gin Kings for a few years.
“He is a real asset to anybody. He knows his basketball with a ‘keep it simple’ kind of mentality. We hope that he will have a positive effect on my players. He is a student of the game and doesn’t impose his superiority. He is a humble guy. Business is business to him,” said Madrid.
Lacking in height this season, Madrid renewed his invitation for big men to also consider playing for the Maroons, who recently broke their 27-game losing skid in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament.
“Anybody above 6-6 will be welcome for us especially someone who can dominate the boards,” said Madrid.