Former Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (CESAFI) juniors MVP LA Casinillo has given his commitment to join the rebuilding University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers in the UAAP.
The 6-foot-1 guard, who is currently with his family in the United Kingdom, was set to play for the UST Tiger Cubs but the Covid-19 pandemic erased those plans. However, Casinillo will now be part of UST’s youth movement as they try to get back to contender status following the exits of head coach Aldin Ayo and stars Rhenz Abando, Mark Noynoy and CJ Cansino.
UST head coach Jinino Manansala said that they’re happy to be able to add more blue chip recruits to their program.
"Our team has really been depleted and we are hoping we could rush things up to be ready when tournaments begin," said Manansala in a talk with Spin.ph
He added that while the players are going through virtual workouts, he would never know where his team is right now if there are no games to be played.
"We are a long way to go and we continue to seek good replacements for the losses we suffered. Aside from our holdovers, we are mostly composed of new recruits. We will never know how far we have gone and how ready we would be until the actual games resume. It is very hard to form a highly competitive team given all the IATF restrictions, but we are taking it with baby steps through our Zoom trainings. We are relying much on the individual responsibilty of each player to be ready when the time comes," he added.
Also coming onboard are former Far Eastern University wingman Royce Mantua and University of the Philippines Integrated School’ Jordi Gomez de Liano, the younger brother of University of the Philippines stars Javi and Juan Gomez de Liano.
They will be joining holdovers Sherwin Concepcion, reigning UAAP MVP Soulemane Chabi Yo and promising Cebuano big man Dave Ando. (JNP)