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Maroons’ roll: As long as it lasts

/ 10:00 PM September 10, 2015
UP Fighting Maroons score second victory.

UP Fighting Maroons score second victory.

It’s mind-boggling when you follow a basketball game on Twitter and join a whole crowd of people doing the same thing.

The people and organizations you follow keep you posted on a hardcourt battle you cannot see because you’re tied up with something else.

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Hopefully, not too many do this while inside a class, although many have tried to multitask while taking down notes on a laptop. But office workers find this as the next best thing when bosses become too alert and know when you’re watching a live stream.

That’s why the downpour of happy tweets from obviously University of the Philippines fans over the Maroons’ second straight UAAP victory against La Salle was a lively exchange. Passionate and even jaded fans all erupted in glee over the big win against a possible Final Four team.

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Some brushed aside the excited tweets as insignificant given how long the UAAP season still is and how quickly the other teams will now learn how to play the rejuvenated Maroons.

But these were not enough to dampen spirits.

If you’ve been through winless seasons and a few missed trips to the playoff round since winning the title in 1986, you’re entitled to a happy dance and the chance to tweet encouraging messages to your fellow UP followers. Do it as long as this resurgence is in vogue. Who knows, the euphoria may translate into, finally, a return to the Final Four.

To those who followed the fledgling Fil-Sports Basketball Association (FBA), a Luzon-based regional basketball tournament, the current energy and gutsy play of UP is not at all surprising. UP, representing Quezon City, actually won the initial tournament in a one-game final, besting a Pampanga Foton team that had more seasoned veterans.

Back then, the signs of a new era in UP basketball were being built. Alumni support was beginning to trickle in. There was an indication that a permanent coaching staff was being formed, with initially consultant Joe Ward and assistants that included Poch Juinio and, later, current head coach Rensy Bajar.

The Maroons were banging heads with senior players who were taller, beefier and packed with enormous basketball experience. But the Maroons were unfazed as they tried every kind of defense with their young legs. They would press, trap or zone to force turnovers and create leak-out baskets.

In time, FBA teams were respecting them a little more and actually feared losing to a college team. The Maroons just kept on learning, trying new lineups and offensive sets, all with the objective of becoming more cohesive and, to a large extent, tougher against formidable competition.

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It’s too early to see how far UP will go this season. The five other teams that UP will still face in the first round will be ready for them. The battery of assistant coaches in those teams (how many does one team need, really?) will review the UP game and watch the player tendencies and check out the lapses.

It will never be an easy journey at all for the Maroons the rest of the way. But there’s nothing wrong for its followers to tweet happy thoughts and hope for a bonfire.

Keep the sports talk going on [email protected]

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TAGS: Basketball, Rensy Bajar, Sports, uaap season 78, UP Fighting Maroons
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