UAAP: Goldwin Monteverde proud of UP’s effort despite finals loss
MANILA, Philippines — Despite a heartbreaking finish to a hectic year, University of the Philippines coach Goldwin Monteverde said his wards need to accept that all good things must come to an end as they look to bounce back stronger in UAAP Season 86 next year.
The Fighting Maroons recovered from a sluggish first half and tried to pull off a comeback down the stretch but only to falter late on their way to a 75-68 loss to the Ateneo Blue Eagles in a winner-take-all Game 3 on Monday before 21,814 frenzied fans at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Monteverde said it wasn’t because they missed the presence of Zavier Lucero, who was out due to an ACL injury he suffered in Game 2, but rather it was their slow start that took a toll on their bid to win two titles in one year.
“Even with Zavier, it happened before because it will boil down to how we execute our offensive game plan. Earlier, we didn’t get that rhythm offensively,” said the UP coach in Filipino after his team allowed Ateneo to unleash a 9-0 start in Game 3 that led to a 30-14 margin at the end of the opening period.
“Our free throw shooting was also a huge factor. If we did a good job in free throws, we could have got a better chance,” he added referring to their 21-of-36 shooting from the line.
Although Ateneo exacted sweet revenge and shattered UP’s title-retention bid, Monteverde remained proud of his Fighting Maroons for leaving everything on the floor.
“For me, it was still a good season for the short preparation we had. The team really did a good job because we made it here to the Finals,” said the coach, who ended the Fighting Maroons’ 36-year title drought in Season 84 last May. “The team never stopped trying to think of something to do to catch up. My players really tried their best to catch up we just fell short.”
Even though it’s a bitter pill to swallow, Monteverde stressed his squad led by Carl Tamayo, James Spencer, JD Cagulangan, and Season MVP Malick Diouf, will have to bring the learnings of their heartbreaking loss heading to Season 86.
“Our biggest takeaway would be whatever happened awhile ago na dapat naming naitakbo sanang mas maganda. Yun naman dapat lagi, masakit man tignan, masakit mang panoorin ulit pero you gotta see, you gotta figure out kung ano ba dapat. So whatever it is na makita namin definitely we’ll work on that next season,” he said.
(Our biggest takeaway would be the things that we should have done better at. It may be heartbreaking to watch the game again but you gotta see, you gotta figure out what you have to do right. So whatever it is that we’ll see, definitely we’ll work on that next season.)
Monteverde added the Maroons just have to keep their heads high and strive their way back to the top next year.
“Ever since day one. We always talk about nothing is permanent. If you earned something, it’s not yours forever. But life goes on you gotta keep on working. It doesn’t end with one achievement. For us, we knew what was at stake going Season 85 and we approached it the best way that we can,” Monteverde said.
UP will lose five seniors namely Lucero, Henry Galinato, Brix Ramos, AJ Madrigal, and Conrad Catapusan, while Tamayo has yet to make a decision if he’ll stay as he also received offers from overseas leagues.
Spencer and Diouf as well as CJ Cansino, who is expected to fully recover from a knee injury, have all committed to run it back next year with fellow mainstays Cagulangan, and role players Terrence Fortea, Harold Alarcon, and Gerry Abadiano.
“We’ll take it as it is. Whoever players we’ll have. We’ll approach it the same way. About the lineup, we still don’t know who will be the holdovers. Once we settle it, then we’ll just have to think about what to do,” Monteverde said.
UAAP: Malick Diouf vows redemption for UP
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