Filipino-American standout Henry Galinato, Jr. joins the revamped UP Men’s Basketball Team (MBT) in a one-and-done deal for a potential University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 84 tournament in 2022.
The 6-foot-6 California native played for Benedictine University in Mesa, Arizona and competed in the US National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Championship.
Prior to committing to UP, Galinato told reporters on Oct. 22 that he was tapped by two other UAAP member schools.
“I really only talked to three schools. UP is a better fit for me just because of the way I’ll bring more of a better impact there because they’re young,” Galinato said.
He will join the Fighting Maroons’ stacked roster of fresh recruits including Carl Tamayo, Gerry Abadiano, Terrence Fortea, Bismarck Lina and RC Calimag.
With only one year before reaching the UAAP’s 25-year-old age limit, the pressure is on for the rookie to prove what he can bring to the young Fighting Maroons squad.
Playing the ‘big’ game
Poised to play a familiar ‘big man’ role, Galinato is aware of the challenge to integrate his juggernaut physique in the fast-paced and intense dynamic of Philippine basketball.
“I feel like playing-wise, I heard they’re more physical out there [in the Philippines] than they’re out here [in the U.S.]. So I feel like you could get away with more of the stuff over there than I do over here,” he said.
In spite of the challenge, he remains optimistic that he can learn from playing collegiate basketball in the Philippines.
“[It will help me] open my eyes and appreciate everything I have [now],” he added.
Galinato also admitted that moving away for the first time from his hometown in Delano, California will not be easy. He grew up in the United States after his Filipino father migrated from Ilocos Sur.
“I feel like [living away from home] will be a tough transition for me just because I’ve been so used to living out here [in the States]. Maybe it’ll humble me a little bit more,” Galinato said.
Despite this, he shared that his family was happy to hear about his decision as the first one in their kin to pursue a sporting career.
With remarkable averages of 13 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in his senior campaign, an aggressive play will be a crucial asset for the maroon-and-white.
For UP MBT Head Coach Goldwin Monteverde, Galinato’s international experience and versatile play can propel the team towards new highs.
“He plays very physically, which I think will help us on both ends of the floor. [With] his four years playing in the U.S., I think he will give the experience we need with the young team that we have right now,” Monteverde said.
Next step forward
Galinato is close to completing his degree in the United States. Despite being miles away from the country, he is determined to train intensively for the upcoming season.
In preparation for his prospective year-long UAAP stint, he attends private workout sessions with UP MBT Program Director Bo Perasol in California. Galinato believes he is ready to make an impact and help bag UP MBT’s first championship of the decade.
“I’m just really happy I have the chance to go play and bring my skills and anything I can bring to the table— anything to help out the team to win the championship,” he said.