MANILA, Philippines – Ateneo netted another blue-chip rookie as former National team mainstay Michael Jay Javelosa said Monday he will suit up for the Blue Eagles in the 77th UAAP basketball wars this July.
"I want to play for Ateneo to fulfill my promise to my late grandfather," said Javelosa.
Javelosa, 18, will thus join a plethora of coveted neophytes that include Arvin Tolentino of San Beda, and Clint Doliguez and John Apacible of Hope Christian School.
It will actually be a homecoming for the 18-year-old Javelosa as he also studied and played for Ateneo Blue Eaglets with former teammates and now college standouts Kiefer Ravena and Von Pessumal before transferring to Reedley International School, where he finished his high school studies.
"I left Ateneo because I want to play for the national team back then. I'm very thankful I will have another chance to play for Ateneo one more time," said Javelosa.
Javelosa was also part of the starting five of the Olsen Racela-coached national team that won the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (SEABA) Under-16 gold in Malaysia three years ago and finished fifth in the FIBA-Asia Under-18 Championship in Vietnam two years back.
The rebuilding Eagles are out to redeem themselves after failing to make it to the Final Four last season.
Now in the second year of its rebuilding process, Ateneo will need all the talents it could get to fill the spots left by Ryan Buenafe, Juami Tiongson, JP Erram and Frank Golla.
But it will be the slots of big men Erram and Golla that the 6-6 Javelosa will fight to get his minutes from.
"It's up to the coaching staff. I'm just there to help the team in any way I can," he said.