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RISE OF THE COLLEGE SURFERS

Updated: Jun 11

 


When you talk about free agency, the last thing you’d ever think of is college basketball.

 

Remember when it was a big deal when BJ Manalo ditched Ateneo for arch-rival DLSU?

 

Jerie Pingoy may not be a household name but there was a UAAP rule named after him.

 

At the moment, UAAP and NCAA players are allowed to switch schools provided that they need to sit out one year. This is a good rule for players who were kicked out of their schools due to academic deficiencies, as well as if they have problems getting playing time.

 

I thought Kyle Tolentino was on his way to becoming one of Letran’s top guys in Season 99. Unfortunately for him, it was the first year of Rensy Bajar being the head coach after years of working through Bonnie Tan’s system. When he left the Knights midway through the season, they eventually became one of the many college teams that went below the standings after their main core had graduated.

 

But while Tolentino chose to play in the MPBL rather than switch collegiate allegiances, most college players are doing this as if they are free agents. With the “valid” reason of ties concealed in opportunities, these players are willing to get redshirted. Jacob Cortez was going to be the poster boy of San Beda basketball for at least two more years until The Cool Cub wanted to play for The Cool Cat’s school. When the San Miguel Corporation turned their allegiance to Perpetual Help after seasons of sponsoring Letran, most of UPHSD's starters turned their sights to the Knights. Much like some of his predecessors like Pingoy, CJ Perez, Hubert Cani, and others, as well as Thirdy Ravena and Ryan Buenafe for that matter, academic requirements are one of the reasons why Ateneo and UP had to strengthen their high school clubs.


CJ Perez became the poster boy for transferees when he started with the San Sebastian Golden Stags, moved to the Ateneo Blue Eagles, and then finished his collegiate career with the LPU Pirates. With that said, The Baby Beast is an anomaly. Not only did he excel in playing basketball, but he also extended his accolades and accomplishments to the PBA. While I guess the biggest drawback of his college surfing is that he was selected first overall by the Terrafirma Dyip a month before turning 25, it's evident that he's bound to have a Hall of Fame PBA career.


But not everyone can have the career that he's had.

 

Anyway, I listed down some of the significant names to switch college teams in 2023 and 2024.

 

 

TO PLAY IN NCAA 100 / UAAP 87

 

FORTHSKY PADRIGAO | FROM ATENEO TO UST

AXEL DOROMAL | FROM ARELLANO TO EAC

WILMAR OFTANA | FROM ARELLANO TO EAC

ALLEN LIWAG | FROM EAC TO BENILDE

BRYAN SAJONIA | FROM FEU TO SAN BEDA

GAB COMETA | FROM SAN BEDA TO BENILDE

JUSTINE SANCHEZ | FROM SAN BEDA TO BENILDE

TONY YNOT | FROM SAN BEDA TO BENILDE

HARVEY PAGSANJAN | FROM UE TO EAC

BISMARCK LINA | FROM UP TO SAN BEDA

 

 

TO PLAY IN NCAA 101 / UAAP 88

 

MUR ALAO | FROM DLSU TO UE

PATRICK SLEAT | FROM FEU TO PERPETUAL

WILLIAM SY | FROM JRU TO LPU

OMAN OMANDAC | FROM LPU TO EAC

SHAWN UMALI | FROM LPU TO BENILDE

PETER ROSILLO | FROM MAPUA TO LETRAN

KEAN BACLAAN | FROM NU TO DLSU

CYRUS NITURA | FROM PERPETUAL TO EAC TO MAPUA

MARK DENVER OMEGA | FROM PERPETUAL TO LETRAN

JUN ROQUE | FROM PERPETUAL TO LETRAN

CARLO FERRERAS | FROM PERPETUAL TO LETRAN

JACOB CORTEZ | FROM SAN BEDA TO DLSU

REY REMOGAT | FROM UE TO UP

CYRIL GONZALES | FROM UP TO MAPUA

LUIS PABLO | FROM UP TO DLSU

KENJI DUREMDES | FROM UST TO PERPETUAL

KYLLE DUREMDES | FROM UST TO PERPETUAL

 

 

When the UAAP and I guess the NCAA as well, relaxed their rules to make the players sit out for just one year, it opened this notion that they can have one-and-done deals, as well as relaxed seasons. However, this is not like in the NCAA wherein players are going to enter the NBA Draft at the age of 19. I guess one reason why players like Kai Sotto, SJ Belangel, and RJ Abarrientos opted to play international ball is because they do not need four years of college or a college degree to turn pro.

 

Anjo Caram turned 33 this year but unlike most of his batchmates, he entered the league at 22 years old.

 

It’s even more insane for Beau Belga, who is now 37 years old but started his PBA career in 2008 when he was just about to turn 22 years old.

 

Terrence Romeo was part of Anjo Caram’s draft class, and he was just 21 when he entered the league.

 

And in a “blast from the past” moment, legendary player Abe King played his first game in the PBA when he was just about to turn 20 years old.

 

Nowadays, a player is around 23 to 27 years old when he tries his luck in the PBA Draft.

 

Like Tolentino, if a player is losing his drive because he is getting benched, or he does not fit a particular system, then he should try his luck in the MPBL. In an article, Tolentino stated that he’s going to improve his game with the South Cotabato Warriors and would probably try his luck in the PBA in 2025 and 2026. Even then, he is already around the 24 to 25 age range.

 

If education is important, then they should concentrate on their studies. With that said, it’s hard for a player to grow as a pro if his prime years are wasted in the college and semi-pro ranks. Maybe instead of switching schools, players should concentrate on their game. Unlike normal desk jobs, a basketball player has potential in their 20s, and everything else beyond the age of 33 prolongs the inevitable.

 

I would rather have the college leagues employ a two-year residency than the current setup. If a player is that serious about transferring, he must pay the consequences of his actions.

 

Otherwise, they just need to play the cards dealt to them.

 

 

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