ATENEO de Manila University Blue Eagles head coach Tab Baldwin (center) shared some tips to Rafy Celis (2nd from left) as SHS-AdC president Fr. Michael Pineda, SJ (left) intently listing. Michael Asoro (2nd from right) on the other hand is listening to the advice of 1st Assistant Coach Francis Auquico (right). (Contributed Photo)
MANDAUE City, Cebu, Philippines – The Jesuits connection remains strong as SHS-Ateneo de Cebu Magis Eagles Raffy Celis and Michael Asoro closed their recruitment process with their announced commitment to the Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles.
The two made their commitment official on Monday, April 10 in a meeting at the SHS-AdC campus attended by AdMU Head Coach Tab Baldwin and key officials from SHS-ADC, led by its school president Fr. Michael Pineda SJ, Chaplain Fr. Nono Levosada, Athletic Director Jon Inot, Basketball Program Director and Juniors Head Coach Rommel Rasmo, and 1st assistant Francis Martin Auquico.
Also in attendance were the families of Celis and Asoro, as well as SHS-AdC’s key benefactor Franco Soberano of Cebu Landmasters.
The chance to be coached by world-renowned coach Baldwin played a major role on the pair’s decision in choosing Ateneo.
“It’s a great opportunity for me and Raffy to play for a champion coach in Coach Tab, and a champion team Ateneo Blue Eagles. I choose Ateneo because I know that it is the best school and best team, where I can develop as a basketball player,” shared Asoro.
SACRED Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu community that include Dr. Rhoel Dejaño (left), staunch supporter and benefactor Franco Soberano of Cebu Landmaster (2nd from left), School Athletic Director Jon Into (3rd from left) SHS-AdC president Fr. Michael Pineda, SJ (4th from left), player forward Raffy Celis (5th from left), Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles coach Tab Baldwin (center), guard Michael Pineda (4th from right), 1st assistant coach Francis Auquico (3rd from right), SHS-AdC Juniors Head coach and Basketball Operations Director Rommel Rasmo (2nd from right) and Fr. Nono Levosada, SJ (right) were in full force during the announcement. (Contributed Photo)
Another key factor was the opportunity to continue as an Ateneo student in college.
“Siyempre, it’s Ateneo – one of the best schools in the country. It’s a blessing that I have a chance to continue as an Atenista and get a chance to earn a diploma from one of the best schools in the country while playing basketball. I’m very blessed to have this opportunity,” Celis added.
Celis, a 6’3 forward, and Asoro, a 6’1 guard, were impressive throughout the past 2 years and were identified early as key targets for Blue Eagles head coach Baldwin beside having worked out with the Blue Eagles as early as the summer of 2022.
“I’m very excited for Mike and Raffy to join our program. They’re both smart and skilled basketball players and have that Cebuano toughness that we need in the team. We have plans in place to make them the best basketball players that they can be, and we’re excited for that,” Baldwin expressed.
Well-loved and long-time Junior’s coach of SHS-AdC Rommel Rasmo is also very excited of Celis and Asoro’s as Blue Eagles.
“Mike and Raffy were both key players for us in high school and I’m very happy for them that they will continue to play for Ateneo. I know that they will do very well and be successful in the next stage,” said Rasmo.
The newly minted Blue Eagles were also very grateful to the officials, coaching staff, and community of SHS-AdC.
“We’re very grateful to the SHS-AdC community for taking care of us and guiding us always. We would not have the opportunities if not for the help of (SHS-AdC) community. From the school officials, coaches, alumni, and even the custodians, security guards, and staff – all of you have helped us get to where we are, and we are grateful,” resounded Celis.
The two will graduate from SHS-AdC this May before linking up with the Blue Eagles in their preparation to defend the UAAP crown in the upcoming Season 86. (Press Release)
ATENEO de Manila University Blue Eagles head coach Tab Baldwin, poses with his two new recruits, the 6-foot 3 forward Raffy Celis (left) and the 6-foot-1 guard Michael Asoro, who will be a part of the Blue Eagles title retention campaign for the UAAP 85th Season. (Contributed Photo)
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