Desiderio declares for PBA Draft

Paul Desiderio will now bring his "Atin 'to!" spirit to the PBA. Dennis Acosta (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Fresh from bringing the University of the Philippines back to the UAAP men's basketball finals, Paul Desiderio is bringing his talents to the Philippine Basketball Association.

The wingman who became a pillar of the Fighting Maroons' renaissance from perennial cellar-dwellers to Final 4 contenders signed up for the annual draft on Friday, two days after his colorful stint in the amateur ranks came to an end.

Desiderio got an opportunity to turn pro after the PBA extended the deadline of draft application to Dec. 10, just right after the UAAP finals.

He will join a star-studded yet guard-bevy draft class expected to be headlined by fellow Gilas Cadet CJ Perez and Alab Pilipinas star Ray-Ray Parks.

Desiderio, a former national youth team member during his freshman year in 2014, became well-known for confidently telling "Atin 'to!" to his UP teammates during the timeout that led to his game-winning triple in their UAAP game last season against the University of Sto. Tomas. It has become the battle cry of the team and even its fans for the past two seasons.

He also made the game-winning jumper against Adamson during their Final Four match that sent UP to the finals for the first time since 1986.

Despite falling short against Ateneo in the UAAP finals, Desiderio will enter the PBA a champion as he was part of the Go for Gold team that won the PBA D-League Foundation Cup title.

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