ATENEO is excited over the news that top high school prospect Jerie Pingoy wants to suit up for the multi-titled Blue Eagles in next season's UAAP wars.
Ateneo team manager Paolo Trillo said they have been talking to Pingoy about the possibility of playing for the Blue Eagles, although he admitted the high school star has not expressed his decision personally.
“He knew that we were interested," Trillo said. "When we heard the news (that Pingoy wants to play for Ateneo), that’s good news for us and we are happy to hear that.”
It was actually his father, former PBA cager Jerry Pingoy, who said in an interview with the Inquirer that they have chosen Ateneo over the younger Pingoy’s current school Far Eastern University.
The two-time UAAP juniors MVP, however, was quick to deny in a Spin.ph interview on Tuesday that he has already made a decision on which school he will play for in college.
FEU is insisting that Pingoy had already signed an agreement to play for the seniors team after leading the Baby Tamaraws to their first UAAP juniors title since 1987.
Trillo believes the statement made by Pingoy's father was triggered by reports emanating from the FEU camp saying the high school star has committed to stay put next season.
“I have a feeling that it is in reaction sa unang balita na FEU siya. Maybe when they saw that, they had to react and came out with the decision to play for Ateneo,” said Trillo.
Trillo claimed that Pingoy has been a fan of players who suited up for the Blue Eagles in the past.
“If you ask me, a big factor (why Pingoy chose Ateneo) was we have a successful program over the past years. And growing up, he looked up to players like Chris Tiu and the other guys about four or five years ago, that was the time that Koko was starting to get exposed to basketball in the UAAP," Trillo said.
“Ang sabi niya sa akin, it’s been a dream for him to study and play for Ateneo. It’s a chance for him to get into a good basketball program and get a good education as well,” Trillo added.
However, Montinola said he expects Ateneo to respect the signed agreement between FEU and Pingoy.
“Yes, we have a signed agreement and we expect Ateneo to abide by that agreement,” Montinola said.
Based on league residency rules, Pingoy is required to sit out for one year if FEU doesn’t give him a clearance. But Trillo said Pingoy is ready for the possibility.
“FEU has the right to exercise that. If they don’t release him, he has already expressed that it is okay for him to sit out. Hopefully he will play right away,” Trillo said.
If Pingoy does move to the Blue Eagles, he will join Kiefer Ravena in an explosive backcourt tandem as they go for their sixth straight title.