PAUL Desiderio believes University of the Philippines has a good chance of making it to the UAAP Final Four next season and he is determined to help make it happen.
“We have a big chance of making some noise. As they say, the future is bright,” Desiderio said.
The big lift UP expects to get from 6-foot-8 Nigerian import Bright Akhuetie obviously was a factor in Desiderio’s decision to stay with the Maroons for his fifth and final season in the UAAP.
He also feels his collegiate career will be incomplete if he doesn’t take his final chance to push UP back to the Final Four.
“I realized that I haven’t really given back to the school and to the entire community,” said Desiderio.
The last time UP made it to the semifinals was in 1997 with a Fighting Maroons squad led by Paolo Mendoza.
The Maroons did look like strong contenders in Season 80, highlighting a strong start with an upset of defending champion La Salle, only to lose steam and fall short of the semifinals with a 6-8 win-loss record.
“I want to finish what we started here and that is to continue the winning tradition and hopefully, return to the Final Four,” said the pride of Liloan in Cebu, who averaged 16.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists in Season 80.