September 18, 2021 | 2:13 p.m.
MANILA, Philippines – No one had lost more with Dwight Ramos’ decision to turn pro in the Japan B. League than the Ateneo Blue Eagles who brought him to the Philippines for the first time to play in the UAAP.
While they knew what they might have had with Gilas’ custody, the defending three-round champions knew they couldn’t hold back a talent like Ramos as college sports remain elusive in the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking to Noli Eala on his Power & Play radio show on Saturday, new goalie Toyama Grouses explained how the Katipunan School reacted to his decision to leave the Eagles’ nest.
“Of course Ateneo wanted me to stay because I came here to play for Ateneo, it was my first priority to come to the Philippines,” said Ramos.
“But they really understand the situation here and how I felt… I’m not getting any younger. I’ll probably be the oldest in college by then,” he added.
Ramos still had two years of eligibility for the Blue Eagles, who could certainly use a player of his caliber after star player Thirdy Ravena graduated.
After spending a year in residence at Ateneo, Ramos was already ready for action for the basketball powerhouse.
But as COVID-19 forced uncertainty out of the UAAP, Ramos had no choice but to find new opportunities.
That’s how he made it to Japan, where he is expected to make his professional debut at 23.
“I probably didn’t even think about [going pro], at that time, ”Ramos said of his first visit to the Philippines a few years ago.
“I was probably thinking of Ateneo, I was thinking of Gilas … Japan was not even in my head then,” he said.
Ramos and Toyama’s campaign in the 2021-22 B. League season takes place on October 2 when they face the Shinshu Brave Warriors.