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Zavier Lucero ecstatic to rejoin UP as UAAP title defense nears

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
Zavier Lucero ecstatic to rejoin UP as UAAP title defense nears
Zavier Lucero
UAAP

MANILA, Philippines — Zavier Lucero just landed in the Philippines from the US barely 24 hours before he headed to the FilOil EcoOil Center in San Juan to play for the UP Fighting Maroons in their FilOil EcoOil Preseason Cup game against the College of St. Benilde Blazers on Wednesday.

In what ended up as a lopsided 117-61 victory for the defending UAAP champions, Lucero bucked jetlag to play 20 minutes and finished with 11 points, four rebounds, an assist and three steals.

Having been linked to transfer news in the offseason, as offers popped up from professional leagues, Lucero said that he was glad to be back to the Maroons' fold.

A key cog in ending the 36-year title drought for the Diliman-based squad, Lucero is hoping to do it all over again in UAAP Season 85.

"It's great, you know, we got to celebrate the championship but it's good to be back," Lucero said after the game.

"We're just starting to build trying to get another one so, last season is in the rear view so it's time to start focusing on building towards [the next season]," he added.

Though the team will be missing CJ Cansino due to an ACL injury and the likes of Ricci Rivero and Noah Webb having graduated from the team, Lucero believes that with their core intact, it will be possible for UP to replicate the success.

"I guess the good thing is that we got a lot of the same guys so it's just filling in the gaps and learn how to play as a team and all that again," he said.

Lucero, who will play his final year with the Maroons in Season 85, was among the biggest contributos for UP in their title run.

He is one of the crucial holdovers for UP, which will also keep Carl Tamayo, Malick Diouf and JD Cagulangan in the roster for its bid at back-to-back championships.

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