March 02, 2024

Francis Lopez officially commits to UP Fighting Maroons — with an assist from Carl Tamayo

Francis Lopez officially commits to UP Fighting Maroons — with an assist from Carl Tamayo

In a shocking turn of events, Francis “LeBron” Lopez has announced he is committing to the University of the Philippines, sources confirmed to News5.

The news came as a surprise to both UP and Ateneo fans, as Lopez has been with the Blue Eagles since his high school days. He was also spotted celebrating Ateneo’s Season 85 UAAP title in December.

Many fans were actually bracing for the Blue Eagles to even come back stronger for Season 86, forecasting that their incoming freshmen will be headlined by Lopez and 6-foot-7 recruit Mason Amos.

Amos has joined the Blue Eagles, but Lopez is going to the other side of Katipunan to don the Fighting Maroons jersey. 

But if there’s one individual that UP fans should be thanking for the move, it’s Carl Tamayo. Even when he’s set to leave the Fighting Maroons, Tamayo pulled through one last time for UP.

In a video posted by nowhere to go but UP, a volunteer group of UP alumni, Lopez quickly detailed his move to UP. 

“Last month, [Carl] texted me on Viber to say ‘Dito ka na sa UP.’ And then I just decided that I wanted to go to UP and here I am, UP now,” said Lopez.

Lopez and Tamayo, however, will not be sharing the court as the 6-foot-6 Tamayo said goodbye to UP, and took his act to Japan in the B.League.

“And then I heard him about going to Japan. I was like, ‘Carl, ano na? Iniwanan mo na ako eh,'” Lopez said in jest.

Outside of his stints with Gilas Pilipinas, Lopez’s basketball career has been stale for the past two years.

Back in 2021, Lopez signed with pro team Overtime Elite. But the 6-foot-6 athletic wing did not play a single game as he was not able to secure a US visa, resulting in him forfeiting his spot on the team.

This move to sign with OTE made fans ask questions about his UAAP eligibility, but the UAAP has yet to make an official decision on the matter.