Competitive UP good for UAAP
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Having a competitive University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons basketball team is good for the school and the UAAP.
The State University has a lot on its hands to think about and work on and it’s understandable when it hasn’t been able to stay in step with the current powers of the league. This is not to say that UP has been remiss in supporting college athletics as a vital part of student formation. We shouldn’t forget that UP has had champion teams in football, swimming, baseball, cheer dancing and other sports.
But there seems to be a change in the way things are being done for the Fighting Maroons basketball team and there’s a renewed interest in its hoop campaign.
The buzz isn’t just about that big win against De La Salle University, the defending champion, although the triumph created ripples of conversation in basketball circles and on social media. It’s more about having a chance in every game to score a win against both the frontrunners and the struggling teams.
A competitive UP team will spread interest not only for its community but also for basketball followers in general. College ball is interesting beyond school alliances. The game is played by young players whose skills are still being formed and that’s why flashes of brilliance are just as fascinating as fumbles and turnovers.
It’s also about getting the community together to come to the games and cheer together and UP does have a sizeable number of students and alumni that can converge. But to keep them coming, the team has to remain competitive as it’s hard to root for a squad that can’t stay in the game till the very end.
All the UAAP schools have undergone difficult seasons, where wins have been hard to achieve. You see that in the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers who still have to win in the current tournament. Very often teams struggle for wins because it also matters who you are pitted against in a given season and what kind of players you have.
It cannot be a case of a lack of trying by teams that haven’t won that much. It’s just that the other teams are so well stacked up and have been playing together for some time. La Salle and Ateneo do not simply have adequate support but also have teams that have been together through at least two years and that is vital for forging team chemistry.
So we find the Fighting Maroons in the conversation in the current UAAP season. Many alumni are hopeful for a Final Four finish, something that hasn’t happened in almost two decades. It will be good to see a large sea of maroon in the stands on a regular basis shouting unique cheers that can rev up the game.
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