By Jerome Lagunzad
Goldwyn Monteverde is still with the National University Bullpups – at least for now.
Amid conflicting reports of his possible transfer to championship-starved University of the East, Monteverde is keeping his focus on the Bullpups’ title campaign in the ongoing UAAP Season 80 juniors basketball tourney.
“He’s still undecided,” an unimpeachable source, who is very close to Monteverde himself but spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Tempo-Bulletin yesterday, the morning after reports of his looming takeover of the UE seniors and juniors cage program.
The source even considered the online reports as some sort of a “distraction” especially for NU, which is in deep preparations for its stepladder showdown with the University of Santo Tomas on Tuesday at the Arena in San Juan City.
The Bullpups, who finished second overall with an 11-3 record behind powerhouse and outright finalist Ateneo (14-0), will be armed with a twice-to-beat advantage against the resurgent fourth-seeded Tiger Cubs.
While Monteverde’s final decision remains up in the air, the Red Warriors certainly need to have a fresh face who could help them turn things around after veteran coach Derrick Pumaren stepped down last November.
Pumaren, who led La Salle to back-to-back titles in 1989 and 1990, struggled to rediscover his winning touch with UE in four years at the helm, compiling a 21-35 win-loss record and failing to lead the Red Warriors back to the Final Four.
But if and when Monteverde pushes through to join UE, he could inject the Red Warriors with touted talents from his other high school team, Chiang Kai Shek College, bannered by blue-chip prospect John Galinato, considered as the top guard outside of the NCAA and UAAP circles.