Two former members of the Batang Gilas national youth program are coming aboard.
Six-foot-five Josh Lazaro and his former Batang Gilas teammate Forthsky Padrigao still have a year left in high school, with the Ateneo Blue Eaglets.
But this early, both cagers made a commitment to play in college for the Ateneo Blue Eagles.
Their decisions are considered a boost to the Blue Eagles’ rebuilding program, according to coach Tab Baldwin.
Lazaro and Padrigao said they were impressed by the program laid by Baldwin, thereby influencing their decision to stay put and turn down offers to play and study for other schools.
“We have two commitments from high school. It’s always a pleasure to bring in players from high school,” said Baldwin in a virtual meet-and-greet on Zoom.
Both players will play for the Blue Eagles in Season 84 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines after finishing their final year with the Blue Eaglets in high school.
The 18-year-old Lazaro was a member of the Mythical Team in the UAAP Season 82. He was one of the key players that helped the Blue Eaglets reach the stepladder semifinals.
Lazaro, who transferred from the San Beda Red Cubs, keyed in averages of 13.2 points, 12.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.3 blocks with the Blue Eaglets.
“My parents told me how good the program. That attracted me,” said Lazaro.
Lazaro’s high school career was highlighted by a stint with the Gilas Pilipinas Youth team, which competed in the 2017 FIBA Under-16 Asia Cup in Foshan. He later made it to the national squad that went to the 2018 FIBA Under-17 World Cup in Argentina.
Padrigao, who transferred from Adamson, was a member of the Mythical Team in UAAP Season 81, averaging 17.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 3.7 steals.
He saw action in the 2018 FIBA Under-17 World Cup in Argentina, where the Philippines placed 13th.
Their commitments came a week after Christopher Acosta Koon, a talented 6’5” Fil-American guard gave the Ateneo Blue Eagles a big surprise when he finally accepted an offer to come aboard and join the program for the next six years.
The 19-year-old Koon was wooed by Baldwin and team supporters to come over for the last four years.
Koon played four years in Rolling Hills Preparatory in high school.