JOHN Lloyd Clemente is staying with National University, and it doesn’t matter if it would take another year before he can suit up for the seniors team in the UAAP.
Clemente played his first game as a member of the NU seniors team on Thursday during the opening day of the UCBL Summer Invitational, finishing with four points and two rebounds in 20 minutes of play in a 59-67 loss to Diliman College.
“NU naman ako galing. Gusto kong ipagpatuloy ang career ko sa NU,” said Clemente, who was already part of the NU seniors squad that made the trip to Las Vegas recently for a skills training camp.
The 18-year-old, however, will have to wait awhile before making his senior debut. He is an incoming Grade 12 high school student, meaning he will have to wait until his graduation before becoming eligible for college.
He will actually be joining his high school teammate Karl Penano, who had nine points and three rebounds in the match against the Blue Dragons on Thursday.
Both players are no longer eligible to play in the UAAP juniors tournament.
Clemente will not be playing for the Bullpups in the Filoil league where rules state that a player must be eligible for the coming season of their mother leagues to be able to play in the preseason tournament.
Regardless, Clemente said his familiarity with NU played a big part in his decision to stay with the school he led to two juniors basketball titles in the UAAP.
“Nag-stay ako para hindi na ako manibago,” Clemente said.
Observers feel that Clemente is already ready for the college game especially with his potential to play multiple positions with his 6-foot-3 frame.
While he expressed readiness for the college game, Clemente said he is still adjusting to a different level of play.
“Medyo nanibago pa ako pero sisikapin ko na makuha ko ‘yung game ko sa college. Siguro jetlag lang kasi galing kami sa Las Vegas. (Pero) handa na ako,” said Clemente.