INCOMING UP Fighting Maroons duo Luis Pablo and Seven Gagate are aiming high ahead of their UAAP men's basketball debut.
After a runner-up finish in their NCAA juniors swan song with La Salle Greenhills, the 18-year-old league MVP Pablo said he and Gagate have talked about going all the way in their first season in Diliman.
"Sobrang tiwala po ako sa [system] ni Coach Gold [Monteverde] at sa program ng UP," said Pablo. "'Yung goal ko is kahit first season pa lang po namin [ni Seven] ay gusto po namin agad mapanalo 'yung championship."
Seven, younger brother of La Salle volleyball star Thea, said he and Pablo talked before making the big leap to UP.
"Pinag-usapan din po talaga namin [ni Luis] kung saan po talaga kami [maglalaro]," Gagate said. "Siyempre gusto po namin magsama, and sinabihan ko rin po si Luis na [pinagkatiwalaan] ko po si Coach Gold ... kung paano niya ini-improve 'yung players at medyo naging big factor po talaga 'yun."
Just like the Fighting Maroons in Season 85, the 6-foot-8 towering tandem fell short of delivering on the promise of a title-winning run after getting swept by Letran in the NCAA juniors finals.
Pablo said they don't want to experience the same at UP.
"Talaga pong sobrang gutom kami manalo, kasi ang dami po naming nakitang weaknesses nung finals [against Letran]. Kaya talagang sobrang ganado po kami mag-improve at manalo this coming [UAAP Season 86]," Pablo shared.
At UP, the departing Greenies twin towers will be teaming up with Filipino-American center Sean Alter, Gilas standout Lebron Lopez, and Chicco Briones, Jr, son of ex-PBA cager Lowell Briones, in a team to be led by CJ Sansino.
However, another former LSGH star, Joshua Coronel, will have to sit out the upcoming season as he recovers from knee surgery in January. He is scheduled to join Pablo, Gagate, and the rest of the new-look Maroons in Season 87.