Gelo Vito’s vision for UP Maroons turns into reality
Gelo Vito’s mission of changing University of the Philippines’ culture finally bore fruit.
In his fifth year with UP, Vito permanently etched his name in annals of the Fighting Maroons history, leading the team to their first Final Four appearance in more than two decades.
Vito, the team’s co-captain, said changing the Fighting Maroons’ reputation from a constant doormat to a legitimate contender always his vision for UP.
“It’s an overwhelming experience because coming into UP, my personal thing was I was going to change this team through whatever way I can be it a leader, a hustle guy,” said Vito after the Maroons secured the no. 3 berth with an 8-6 record.
“I want to change the culture of UP right now and our hard work for five years has finally become a reality. I’m really happy and proud with what my teammates have done and also to my past teammates because we wouldn’t have done this without them.”
Vito entered UP in Season 77 when the Fighting Maroons won just one game but saw steady improvement when they finished 6-8 finish in Season 80.
Vito’s completion of his dream was also a near twist of fate as the Fighting Maroons completed their eliminations against La Salle, one of the schools that recruited the 6-foot-5 center while he was still in his third year of high school.
Things, however, turned into a different route when Vito tore his anterior cruciate ligaments in both of his knees.
“I never really imagined to be in UP,” said Vito. “But looking back at it, I think this was what fate had for me, to be in UP, to lead this team and to be one who sparks change in this culture and I’m glad this is my last year.”
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