Frustration mounts as pressure to win catches up on UP
Winning has put University of the Philippines in an unfamiliar situation.
The expectations have risen from avoiding a winless season to possibly making the Final Four after a surprising 2-0 start this season.
But the Fighting Maroons’ celebration have been short-lived with the team back to facing the only streak they had been on in their previous two seasons.
“We’ve been up against really strong teams – UST, FEU and the defending champions,” said UP team manager Dan Palami after the Maroons were dealt a third straight loss following a 68-52 defeat to National University on Saturday.
“But nevertheless, that’s why it took me a while to get out of the locker room, I had to talk to the players and to the coaches. There seems to be some sort of disconnect from the preparation to the execution when it comes to game time so that’s something we have to fix and fix really fast so that we can still be on target with our goal.”
UP made headlines when it beat University of the East in the season opener and its win over De La Salle gave an indication that the biggest story this year could be the Maroons finally having a winning season.
But winning its first couple of games has made winning more, more difficult.
“It’s really more of frustration because they knew they prepared well but they just didn’t click when game time came so that’s what we have to find out,” Palami said in describing the players’ mood inside the Mall of Asia Arena locker room.
“I think winning the first two games has put them under a lot of pressure – pressure that they’re not used to,” Palami said. “That’s why the feel it’s necessary to perform beyond what they should be doing so we force shots. We are unable to execute properly. In practices they’re able to do that but in the game I think it’s just lack of maturity for some of the players to handle this kind of pressure. I hope they get through this as soon as possible.”
And the ill-advised attempts and poor execution are attributed to the players’ mentality.
“I think it’s a mental thing. So that’s actually more difficult to fix but we hope to be able to do it before the game against Ateneo.”
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