What Joel Cagulangan’s impending UP transfer means
Rick Olivares (Philstar.com) - January 15, 2020 - 9:24am

MANILA, Philippines — Point guard Joel Cagulangan’s impending transfer to the University of the Philippines underscores the Fighting Maroons’ aggressive build-up for the next several years.

UP recently acquired through transfer Centro Escolar University’s Malik Diouf, Adamson University’s CJ Catapusan, Fil-American Sam Dowd and Fil-Australian Ethan Kirkness. The latter three will be able to suit up for the Fighting Maroons come UAAP Season 83 while the former will have to serve out a one-year residency period.

Cagulangan was spotted during a Palarong Pambansa tournament while playing for the Northern Mindanao team. He was brought over to Manila, where he helped the La Salle Greenhills Junior Blazers to an NCAA Juniors championship in 2017, at the same time bagging the league’s Most Valuable Player award. Although he was unable to help defend LSGH’s title in 2018 (won by Mapua), he was no less effective. He battled Ateneo’s Kai Sotto for the recognition as the best high school player in the country in consecutive years of the National Basketball Training Center’s High School Player Rankings.

The Butuan City native moved on to De La Salle University’s seniors UAAP team but he battled injury problems during the summer of 2019, which hampered his effectiveness during the past Season 82 collegiate wars. In limited minutes playing behind Aljun Melecio, Jordan Bartlett and Keys Meeker, the 5’9” Cagulangan averaged 0.75 points, 3.0 rebounds and 0.75 assists in four appearances for the Green Archers.

La Salle sources are said to be disappointed that he is transferring, citing that Cagulangan will inherit Melecio’s spot in the rotation with Season 83 being the latter’s last playing year. However, we also learned that he was initially thought to have wanted to go to UP after high school.  

Cagulangan will give UP another strong and tough point guard, one who can create for his teammates and also take the big shots. He has range from the 3-point arc to medium range, and can get to the rack. He has very good basketball intelligence and will provide leadership for the Fighting Maroons.

Conversely, his impending transfer hurts DLSU. The Green Archers will need to find their court general of the future when Melecio is done with college. Although Encho Serrano can play that spot, sources say that he has academic problems. Of the team that saw LSGH win the NCAA Season 93, only Joshua David is with the Archers. Ladis Lepalam, Joshua Marcos and Sydney Mosqueda are with the College of St. Benilde Blazers while Jacob Lao and Inand Fornillos are with Ateneo.

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