MANILA, Philippines—Following highly-touted recruit SJ Moore’s commitment to University of Santo Tomas is the inevitable challenge that comes with it.
For Moore, a standout high school player, playing alongside the Growling Tigers is a positive challenge heading forward.
“Mostly the players of UST are so skilled so it’s a competition for me to match or even go higher than them,” Moore said in a press conference at Quezon City on Friday.
“I find it a good challenge to have them as teammates.”
Moore will be joining the holdovers of primary playmaker Paul Manalang, foreign student athlete Adama Faye and sharpshooter Nic Cabañero, whom Moore said he is so excited to play alongside with.
Cabañero, who led UST in scoring for UAAP Season 85, was the first to approach Moore after confirming his move to España.
“He messaged me first and asked if we can meet. I appreciated that,” told Moore.
While newly-minted coach Pido Jarencio is also excited to see Moore take on the challenge of competing with his fellow Tigers, the coach clarified that the cager still has a long way to go before reaching his potential.
“He’s a player that has full potential but there are still lots to improve on with him. He needs to improve physically and his off-hand dribbling but that can be developed, especially since my coaching staff is composed of guards,” Jarencio explained.
Joining the former Northport coach on the bench for UST next season are his point guards of old Jeric Fortuna and Japs Cuan.
Jarencio also admitted that he had high expectations for the former Arellano Brave but said he still has to figure out the right roles for the players from UST, including newly-acquired wing man Gabriel Obusan.
“Expectations, it’s there and it’s okay but if he gets his role plus the chemistry, our team will be mighty.”
While playing alongside lethal scorers in UST factored in Moore’s decision, another crucial aspect of the NBTC All-Star game MVP’s decision was his belief in Jarencio’s system.
“His background is really good. When he coached UST before, they became champions and my trust in him increased because of that. I know that I’d improve a whole lot because he’ll be handling me.”
Moore balled out in his one-and-done season for Arellano with 19.0 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.4 steals, 1.3 assists and 1.3 blocks before transferring to UST.
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