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Latest Ateneo recruit Paul Garcia expected to fill in for Korea-bound SJ Belangel

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
Latest Ateneo recruit Paul Garcia expected to fill in for Korea-bound SJ Belangel
Paul Garcia
Instagram / Paul Garcia

MANILA, Philippines — There will be big shoes to fill for latest Ateneo Blue Eagles recruit Paul Garcia as he is looking to make up for the loss of Korea-bound SJ Belangel.

Garcia's signing was announced on Wednesday during a press briefing with Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin, team manager Epok Quimpo and assistant coach Dean Castano.

According to Baldwin, the 5'11" off guard's commitment to play for Ateneo, where he will be eligible for two years, comes at an opportune time.

"This is a significant signing for us in light of what happened last year with our graduation and the uenxpected exodus of SJ Belangel," said Baldwin.

"We're left a little short in the PG position. We have a lot of confidence in Forthsky [Padrigao] but it's a big load to carry for a sophomore and a guy expected to apprentice for another year under SJ," he added.

Garcia will already be eligible for Ateneo in UAAP Season 85 after having played three seasons for Salisbury University in the US.

The Filipino-American cager played his best in the US during his sophomore year with the team where he normed 8.6 points on 48% 3-point shooting.

Garcia, whose parents trace their roots in Metro Manila, was touted as a great two-way player. And Baldwin, who puts a lot of premium on his team's defensive game as well, raved about his latest recruit.

"Bringing Paul, Paul's not just a very, very dynamic point guard and a very well-rounded guard, he can score, he can play the off guard position as well. But he also ahas a lot of maturity and experience, being a guy that comes in as a college graduate with 2 years of eligibility," said Baldwin.

"We think that nothing could be more critical for our program right now thant this signing," he added.

Baldwin and Ateneo are hoping to get Garcia in the Philippines in time for pre-season preparations at the end of the month.

If time permits, the Blue Eagles are looking to get Garcia on board for their Japan stint in the World University Basketball Series in August.

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