Despite UAAP Finals loss, UP Maroons ‘champions in our own right’
University of the Philippines’ Cinderella clock has struck midnight.
UP’s inspiring run ended with a 99-81 Game 2 loss that handed Ateneo another UAAP championship on Wednesday.
But instead of sulking over the bitter ending, head coach Bo Perasol wants his players to treat the experience as a stepping stone moving forward to a new era.
“We can’t be focusing on what just happened, we have to focus on the whole season,” said Perasol, who oversaw UP’s rise from a perennial cellar-dweller to one of the league’s elites.
Perasol took over Fighting Maroons, who had just finished Season 78 with a 3-11 record good for a last-place tie with Adamson University, in his first year.
It wasn’t a easy road filled with high expectations, but after three seasons the former Fighting Maroon was able to lead them to their Final Four appearance since 1997 and first championship round since winning the title in 1986.
“We can’t be myopic in saying that we lost the game. Of course we lost, but all in all, we became champions in our own rights,” said Perasol who played for UP from 1989 to 1993. “Ateneo was better than us and there was no way we could’ve won against that team if we played the same way.”
UP was bamboozled as early in the first quarter when Ateneo showed its championship class with a 17-5 run to take a 25-13 lead heading into the second period.
Things then went downhill for UP then as the defending champions went on an unrelenting offensive barrage throughout the game.
“We need to take away some things that we need to do to be better next season. What I need them to do was to make sure that they know what they’ve accomplished and they shouldn’t focus on what we cannot do.”
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