After leading UP to first finals stint in 32 years, Paul Desiderio applies for PBA Draft

Paul Desiderio is ready to take his talents to the PBA.

The former UP shooting guard, who recently concluded his stellar UAAP career after leading Fighting Maroons to its first ever finals appearance in 32 years, officially filed for the upcoming PBA draft on Friday.

"[I'm] excited. Mixed emotions," Desiderio exclaimed. "I really don't know what's going to happen. I'm really excited."

Desiderio's immortal words of "Atin 'To" (This is ours) embodied the Fighting Maroons' unrelenting spirit and became their battle cry for Season 81. In his final year, he averaged 13.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.1 steals. He also had a penchant for hitting clutch baskets, as highlighted by his Final Four heroics against the Adamson Falcons.

The versatile scorer downplayed the expectations heading into the professional ranks, mentioning that he plans to help whichever team that drafts him.

"Whatever I can give the team, that's what I'll do. I'm just going to play," he said.

Standing at 5-foot-10, Desiderio says that he patterns his game after Magnolia Hotshots guard PJ Simon.

"I really try to emulate PJ Simon. I'm excited to face him. When I was in high school, I really followed his career," he said of the 7-time PBA champion. "I look up to guys like Dondon (Hontiveros), but I try to copy PJ Simon. I've been trying to do his one-hander."

The kid from Cebu hopes to realize his PBA dream at the annual draft on December 16.