By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Looks like the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons are the team to beat in the upcoming UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament.
After facing eligibility issues due to his professional contract under the American basketball league Overtime Elite two years ago, the high-flying Francis “LeBron” Lopez just gained clearance from the UAAP board to play as a rookie for the Fighting Maroons.
The UAAP board gave all of their votes for Lopez to become eligible and will no longer sit out one year to complete residency rules.
UP athletic director and former Fighting Maroons head coach Bo Perasol confirmed the development and said that this will be a huge news to the UP basketball community.
Perasol explained that the UAAP board had an 8-0 final verdict on Lopez’s fate and no other participating school objected to the decision.
Also, complaints, questions, and other motions to reject weren’t filed by the other schools and their respective organizing committees.
Lopez is expected to fill in the hole Carl Tamayo and Zavier Lucero left after the duo took separate paths in their young basketball careers.
Tamayo chose to sign with the Japan B. League while Lucero already finished all of his eligible playing years in the UAAP.
Now that he is ready for his first season as a Fighting Maroon, the freak athlete will be leading the squad alongside Malick Diouf, JD Cagulangan, Harold Alarcon, and CJ Cansino.