A REUNION in the offing?
Former University of Santo Tomas Tiger Cubs star big man Bismarck Lina could be joining former Growling Tigers skipper CJ Cansino at University of the Philippines.
Fighting Maroons coach Bo Perasol said that UP is in talks with the 6-foot-5 Lina for a possible transfer.
“It’s not definite yet. We’re still talking,” Perasol told Malaya-Business Insight yesterday.
Perasol said Lina’s addition will be a big boost for the Maroons in the future if and when it pushes through.
“Most of our big men are either in their last season or have two more years of eligibility,” explained Perasol. “Just in case, Bismarck will be part of our frontline in the years to come.”
Lina averaged 16.6 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 2.1 assists in the last UAAP juniors’ cage wars. He also suited up for Gilas Youth in the FIBA Asia Under-18 Championship in 2018.
With UST’s fate hanging in the air due to allegations that former coach Aldin Ayo and the team breached the government’s stringent COVID-19 health protocols when they held a training bubble at the hometown of Ayo in Capuy, Sorsogon City from mid-June to August, some of the players decided to pack their bags and continue their careers elsewhere.
Aside from Cansino, star forward Rhenz Abando, guard Brent Paraiso, and big man Ira Bataller also left and moved to defending NCAA champion Letran, while reserve guard Jun Asuncion transferred to Mapua University.
Reigning Rookie of the Year Mark Nonoy and wingman Deo Cuajao went to La Salle.
Ayo was banned indefinitely by the UAAP last Sept. 9. Together with assistant coaches Jiñino Manansala and McJour Luib, Ayo resigned last Sept. 4.
The UAAP is eyeing to launch its 83rd season, set to be hosted by La Salle, early next year.
UP last won a crown in 1986 behind pro league greats Benjie Paras and Ronnie Magsanoc, and Eric Altamirano.
Aside from Tamayo and Abadiano, La Salle Greenhills gunner RC Calimag, Xavier’s Miguel Tan, Fil-Am guard Sam Dowd, Fil-Canadians Alonso Tan and Anton Eusebio, and Fil-Australian Ethan Kirkness are among the rookies who can already play for State U in the 83rd UAAP basketball tournament.
Prized recruits Joel Cagulangan of La Salle, Jancork Cabahug of University of the Visayas, and Senegalese slotman Maodo Malick Diouf of Centro Escolar University have also transferred to UP but will have to serve the league required one-year residency before they could suit up in the 84th season like Cansino.