St. John’s Institute senior and ace player Kirell Brandon “Kib” Montalbo has to make up his mind on whether to wear the colors of De La Salle University or to don the Ateneo de Manila University jersey when he enters college next year.
Both schools came forward with an offer for an athletic scholarship for the teenage basketball sensation who has been making waves not only in the NOPSSCEA juniors basketball but also in various local and national tournaments in his division.
A week ago, Green Archers head coach Gee Abanilla, together with chief recruiter David Dichupa and team manager Eric Ongkauko, joined the SJI Blue Falcons in celebrating their latest championship in NOPSSCEA juniors basketball.
The group managed to squeeze out an 80-20 odd in their favor from Montalbo’s father, Roger, who said the final decision lies with his son.
Abanilla said the young Montalbo is a crucial piece in the puzzle and DLSU will take care of him.
Dichupa said he has been following Montalbo’s progress in basketball for seven years now and he is impress with the performance of the Bacoleño cager.
Yesterday, Ateneo Blue Eagles new head coach Bo Perasol and team manager Paolo Trillo were in Bacolod to meet with Montalbo and his parents, as well as SJI coach Dexter Dy.
Although he has yet to see Montalbo play, Perasol said he has heard a lot about the SJI player and he would get a good opportunity to maximize his potential at the Blue Eagles camp.
Trillo, who watched Montalbo in practice with the Ateneo players last summer, said he teenager from Bacolod does not only exhibits good playing skills but has a good attitude and gets along well with the players.
Aside from the scholarship, lodgings, and food allowance, Trillo said Montalbo will be joining a school team that has a good graduation rates among their players.
He said 80 up to 80 percent of those who joined the Blue Eagles were able to obtain their college degrees after their playing years.
Meanwhile, Perasol said Montalbo’s competitiveness as a player will be tested if he chose to join the Ateneo team.
“He’s going to be pushed to his limits as he would be exposed to high level competition,” the Blue Eagles coach said, adding that if a player is good then real competition will be his stimulus to continue improving his game.
Earlier, Montalbo said he will decide on which offer to accept in January. He said he is happy that both the DLSU and ADMU are interested to take him in their team.*NAB
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