MANILA, Philippines -- University of the Philippines (UP) announced a major recruiting coup on Saturday, as Carl Tamayo and Gerry Abadiano decided to commit to the Fighting Maroons after playing for Nazareth School of National University in high school.
Atty. Agaton Uvero, the team manager of the UP Men's Basketball Team, confirmed that Tamayo, a 6-foot-7 big man, and Abadiano, a decorated point guard, will make the big jump to Diliman this month.
"Carl and Gerry will be a big part of our rebuilding efforts," Uvero said.
"Six of our players graduated last season, and we have five more players who have just one playing year left," he added. "These two talents will help us secure our basketball future. We hope they will be model student-athletes of UP."
Both Abadiano and Tamayo played huge roles in the Bullpups' perfect run in Season 82, with Tamayo emerging as the Finals MVP in their series against the Far Eastern University-Diliman Baby Tamaraws.
At the end of the high school basketball season, Tamayo was ranked second overall in the NBTC 24, while Abadiano was at No. 16.
UP head coach Bo Perasol personally met with the new recruits to welcome them to the team.
"We are very happy to have Carl and Gerry in our team," said Perasol. "Coming straight out of high school, they have five full playing years with the team."
"They will really be a big boost for our young team, which is again in the process of rebuilding."
The Fighting Maroons, anchored by Kobe Paras and Bright Akhuetie, finished as the second seed in the men's basketball tournament with a 9-5 win-loss record. Despite being armed with a twice-to-beat advantage, however, they bowed to University of Santo Tomas in the stepladder semifinals.
Tamayo said he and Abadiano want to be "both student and athletes."
"Basketball is not forever, so quality education is very important for us," he explained. "If and when our basketball careers end, we want to have a back-up plan to fall back on."
Aside from Tamayo and Abadiano, UP also welcomed Xavier School's Miguel Tan, Fil-Canadians Alonso Tan and Anton Eusebio, Fil-Australian center Ethan Kirkness, Fil-Am guard Sam Dowd, and Gilas Youth cadet RC Calimag to their team.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).