Paul Desiderio not sorry to help former UV teammates reach for their UAAP dreams
Paul Desiderio says former UV teammate Leonardo Santillan asked for his help when he went to Manila to try out for UAAP teams. Jun Manzo soon followed. Jaime Campos

CEBU CITY - University of the Philippines standout Paul Desiderio knows what it feels like to be a Green Lancer, to have the expectations of the rabid Lancer faithful weighing heavily on his every move.

This is why he understands how doubly hurt University of the Visayas and its supporters must feel having one of their own help lure two of their finest to Manila to join the University of the Philippines Maroons.

A former MVP in the Cesafi back in 2011 when he led the Baby Lancers to the juniors division title before eventually making his way to the UP campus in Diliman, Desiderio has been largely credited by both Jun Manzo and Leonard Santillan — the two Green Lancers who recently transferred to Diliman to try their luck out at making the Maroon roster — as a key factor in their move to Manila.

[See UV loses top players Manzo, Santillan to UP Maroons]

And while he understands the situation the Green Lancers now find themselves in, having lost their two best players, Desiderio sees nothing wrong with his involvement in the recruitment process.

“I feel sorry for my alma mater because two of their top players are gone but it is not my fault that they want to achieve their dreams, which is to play in the big league like the UAAP,” said Desiderio in a talk with, in between his arduous preparations for class exams.

“At first, it felt awkward because I wouldn’t be here had it not been for UV. But I just wanted to help them because they were also my teammates before. I didn’t force them to come here. They were the ones who wanted to come here and try out.”

[See Perasol denies 'pirating' two UV Green Lancers stars]

Desiderio related Santillan communicated with him last month that he was in Manila to try out for La Salle. However, Santillan did not feel right about the move to the said school so Desiderio told him to try out at UP instead.

Not long after, Manzo followed suit.

Though it remains to be seen if the two additions will make the squad pending negotiations with their mother school, Desiderio was happy to have the two in Diliman.

“I’m happy for the both of them because they're here and I hope they can help us,” he said.

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