The University of the Philippines pulled off the biggest recruitment heist of the UAAP offseason so far by landing Gilas Youth standouts Carl Tamayo and Gerry Abadiano.
Fighting Maroons team manager Agaton Uvero on Saturday confirmed the transfer of the National University-Nazareth School Bullpups stars, who pushed the school to back-to-back championships in the Juniors division.
"Carl and Gerry will be a big part of our rebuilding efforts," said Uvero. "Six of our players graduated last season and we have five more players who have just one playing year left. These two talents will help us secure our basketball future. We hope they will be model student-athletes of UP."
Tamayo, a skilled 6-foot-7 big man, was the Finals MVP of the Bullpups' last two title runs. He averaged 19 points and 18 rebounds in last year's championship series against Far Eastern University, capping off the effort with a huge double-double of 26 points and 22 rebounds.
On the other hand, the 6-foot floor general Abadiano was a stabilizing force in the backcourt and averaged 11.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.1 steals. He also logged 20 points, five rebounds and three dimes in his final game for NU in the Juniors level.
The duo also played in the FIBA Under-19 World Cup in Greece last year, when the Philippines finished 14th out of 16th teams. Tamayo posted 12.3 points (second-best in team) and 6.1 rebounds (second), while Abadiano tallied 8.4 points and 2.1 assists per game.
"We are very happy to have Carl and Gerry in our team. Coming straight out of high school, they have five full playing years with the team. They will really be a big boost for our young team which is again in the process of rebuilding," said coach Bo Perasol.
Tamayo joins an already stacked UP team, which had earlier recruited Xavier's Miguel Tan, Filipino-Canadians Anton Eusebio and Alonzo Tan, Fil-Australia center Ethan Kirkness, Fil-American guard Sam Down, Gilas Youth guard RC Calimag, former La Salle guard Joel Cagulangan, CEU star Malick Diouf and UV standout Jancork Cabahug.