|Rhenz Abando's transfer to Letran started with a call. Dennis Acosta (file photo)|
MANILA—Coach Bonnie Tan admitted on Thursday that it took a phone call for them to get a chance at recruiting Rhenz Abando, Ira Bataller, and Brent Paraiso.
"May tumawag lang sa amin sa group nila if we are interested sa services ng tatlong players," the current Letran coach said in the online Usapang Sports Forum by the Tabloid Organization in Philippine Sports.
However, Tan further said that Letran's team management wanted to make sure that the transfer will go on smoothly amid the alleged University of Santo Tomas bubble drama that eventually led to Abando, Bataller, and Paraiso's departure from the university.
"Alam naman natin na nagkagulo sila sa Bicol at ayaw na nating makadagdag sa problema nila lalo na't alumni kami nina Coach Pido [Jarencio, NorthPort's mentor] ng UST," added Tan, also the concurrent team manager for the Batang Pier in the PBA.
Like Tan, Jarencio was invited in the online press conference.
Tan further said that the Knights' management took a slow approach in dealing with the transfer of the three former Growling Tigers.
"Nag-observe lang kami. Pinagusapan naming mga coaches at management nang mabuti kung pwede ba naming ma-entertain ito," he quipped, taking into consideration the other Letran recruits during the now lengthened off-season. "We met several times muna before kami mag-decide both parties."
But with them already looking for a new place to study and continue their college careers, Tan said that it was tough passing on them, especially in the case for Abando, who had a breakout UAAP season last year.
"It's hard to reject since sila na yung lumalapit at saka alam naman natin na very qualified yung tatlo na maging part ng Letran program," he continued.
Abando, Bataller, and Paraiso will have to redshirt for two consecutive semesters according to NCAA rules.
The three forwards are surely eligible for NCAA Season 97, but if the COVID-19 situation forces the league to push the start of Season 96 to September next year, they can suit up for the Knights outright for the upcoming season.
Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno_