Ateneo was expecting Rio Rancho High School alum Chris Newsome to make an immediate impact when the Blue Eagles bid for a sixth consecutive University Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball crown.
Newly appointed head coach Bo Perasol said Newsome was a major part of the Blue Eagles’ rebuilding plans following the end of the collegiate careers of seven-footer Greg Slaughter and starting forward Nico Salva. Perasol said they had yet to undergo a major overhaul despite the exit of Slaughter and Salva and are relying solely on current players and players waiting in the wings after fulfilling residency requirements.
In one of his first games for the Blue Eagles, Newsome responded with 27 points.
A 6-foot-2 Filipino-American guard who was a junior on the Rams’ Class 5A state championship team of 2006-07, he had to endure a two-year wait to fulfill residency requirements to play for his current team.
After his days as a Ram, and playing for current Cleveland High coach Brian Smith, Newsome played for New Mexico Highlands University, where he averaged 10.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.1 steals in his final season with the team (2010-11). Newsome was also considered to play for Sinag Pilipinas in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia, the gold-medal winner.
Back in April, Newsome was tabbed as the Gatorade Defensive Player (for April 13-20) after he grabbed 35 rebounds and had six steals in a three-game stretch.
Newsome’s proud father, Eric Newsome, said his son is nearing the end of a two-week break in the UAAP Season 76 men’s basketball tournament, which began with seven games, takes a break and concludes with seven more games.
The top four teams qualify for the semifinals and, from there, the championship.
The Ateneo Blue Eagles have won the last five championships.
Newsome’s fans and friends can Google his name and Ateneo basketball to learn more — and see a dazzling 360-degree, alley-oop slam dunk by Newsome off a pass from LeBron James, in Manila recently and posted on YouTube.