THE University of the Philippines Maroons' future suddenly looked brighter after promising high school players Kyles Lao and Andre Paras committed to play for the school in the coming UAAP season.
No less than coach Ricky Dandan confirmed to Spin.ph the twin signings on Tuesday night.
The commitment made by Lao and Paras came at the most appropriate time for the Maroons, who are currently rebuilding following the graduation of eight players from last year's team including top gunner Mike Silungan.
Lao gained prominence after being named MVP in the recently-concluded season of the Metro Manila Tiong Lian Basketball Association where he played as the star player of Xavier School.
He also played for the PH youth team under former head coach Olsen Racela and drew interest from both De La Salle and reigning five-time UAAP champion Ateneo.
Paras’ impending entry to UP, on the other hand, will see him follow in the footsteps of his father Benjie, a basketball icon at Diliman having steered the Maroons to their only UAAP title in the modern era under coach Joe Lipa in 1986.
The younger Paras had modest numbers of 5.4 points, five rebounds, and 1.1 blocks in 14.3 minutes of play during his final year with La Salle Greenhills in the NCAA, although the good-looking teenager showed a lot of potential owing to his height.
The Maroons are trying to bounce back from a disappointing campaign in Season 75 of the league, one which saw them finish with a horrible 1-13 (win-loss) record.
Lao and Paras are not covered by the new two-year residency rule approved by the league since they came from non-UAAP member schools.