Dedication to UP key to another title romp for Maroon Booters
With the University of the Philippines recording another perfect season this UAAP Season 80 men’s football tournament, one must wonder how hard coach Anto Gonzales has been pushing his wards.
But the former national team skipper admits that leading a team as hungry as the Maroon Booters was a breeze given their collective dedication to win.
“To be honest, I think it’s been quite easy coaching these boys,” said Gonzales on Thursday after they completed the title romp with a 1-0 victory over UST.
“We didn’t have any problems, or any character issues. These boys are really so good and they really deserve it,” he added. “We always tell them that winning is just a bonus. How they performed today, that’s our reward because we’ve given the sacrifices and we’ve been working together very well.”
Gonzales believes that his boys fully understood what it meant to represent UP, which made his part all the more easier in this championship drive.
“I think the players are just so devoted, so passionate to play for the school. I think it also comes, for me speaking from experience, I’ve been coaching UP for my nine years and mainly, my main motivation is because UP has done so much for me also. UP has helped me so much and I think these boys also feel the same way. Those who have come before us they feel the same way. UP has done great things for us and this is our way to give back,” he said.
That dynamic allowed UP to give a fitting graduation to their seniors led by team captain Ian Clariño and defender Javi Bonoan, while also drawing huge contributions all season long from guys like Kintaro Miyagi and Rookie of the Year Fidel Tacardon.
With the mentality set in place, the youthful mentor couldn’t help but look forward to what else this current Maroon Booters group could achieve.
“I’m quite excited to see how the other players will take up the leadership responsibilities,” he said. “I think Ian and the rest of the seniors left a lasting legacy of how to lead being selfless, setting a good example, pushing players positively. This season, we had a very positive atmosphere in the training sessions. I’m looking forward to the upcoming seniors to take on the challenge.”
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