By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
One of the brightest prospects the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons had just bid goodbye after confirming his transfer to the San Beda Red Lions last January 8, 2023.
RC Calimag, UP’s six-foot-one combo guard who was bound to fill in a bigger role next UAAP season, has already committed to the San Beda Red Lions and will don the red and white jersey.
It was then made official after Calimag himself announced his surprising departure from the Fighting Maroons who just lost a shot at winning back-to-back UAAP men’s basketball championship titles.
“Yung pagalis ko sa UP, it’s nothing personal. It’s part of my growth as a player. Alam naman natin na sobrang loaded ng UP in every position pero kailangan ko rin hanapin yung self ko as a player. Gusto mo rin magblossom as a player,” said Calimag.
It was also a no-brainer for Calimag which school to choose after making up his mind about leaving UP. He was a part of the San Beda Red Cubs varsity team during his high school days and began showing off his hoops prowess in the NCAA juniors.
Calimag had inconsistent minutes under the Fighting Maroons’ roster and teamed up with a talented backcourt quartet of JD Cagulangan, Harold Alarcon, Ilonggo Gerry Abadiano, and James Spencer.
The two-way guard spent two years under head coach Goldwyn Monteverde and logged a total of 100 minutes in 19 total games.
Heading into his sophomore year with the Fighting Maroons, Calimag had to fight for his minutes as young guard Cyril Gonzales also blossomed into the player that coach Monteverde wanted to be.
Gonzales then became a crucial part of UP’s backcourt rotation, leaving Calimag as the squad’s third-stringer behind Cagulangan and Abadiano.
“Unang tinawagan ko is Coach Gold and Coach Bo. We wanted na magpaalam sa kanya and maayos naman yung relationship namin and naintindihan nila yung side ko. When it comes to the UP community, I want to thank them also. There’s a huge part of me that is UP. They welcomed me with open arms. Masakit para sa akin magpaalam sa kanila pero kailangan,” Calimag added.