UAAP: UP not done yet after claiming historic top seed
MANILA, Philippines — University of the Philippines finished the UAAP men’s basketball tournament elimination round as the top seed for the first time.
The Fighting Maroons achieved the feat after they dominated the National University Bulldogs, 79-57, on Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena ahead of next week’s Final Four.
UP coach Goldwin Monteverde believes the school’s best elimination record at 12-2 is a result of their hard work.
“All of this wasn’t planned Like I said, one game at a time. Whatever comes your way during the season, you just have to prepare and just fight every challenge. We’re thankful for where we are now,” said Monteverde in Filipino.
Guard CJ Cansino said UP finishing number one in the eliminations was because of the team’s selflessness from the players to the coaching staff.
“I guess it just proved that we worked hard as a team, we were selfless and we trusted the system. We gave a lot of effort. We were able to find the consistency that we’ve been searching for the whole season,” said Cansino, who scored 11 points against NU, in Filipino. “Hopefully, we become even more consistent in the coming games because that’s the most important thing. We also need to continue to trust the work that our coaches have put in starting in practice.”
UP has been making history under the guidance of Monteverde, who steered the Maroons to their first championship after 36 years back in Season 84 and a second straight Finals appearance last December.
Despite their impressive elimination campaign, the Fighting Maroons are not yet done as they battle the winner of the Adamson-Ateneo playoff in the Final Four.
“I think heading into the season, all the teams are very competitive. Getting here, getting this spot is a part of it. We know that we’re not finished yet,” he said. “Whatever we have to do, we have to follow through on it. We just have to wait for the team we’re going to face so we can prepare for it.”
Ateneo and Adamson, who are tied at 7-7, fight for the last Final Four ticket. UP vows to continue playing all out regardless of their match-up.
“We’re not choosing anyone, we don’t compare. We just want to give our all regardless of who stands in our way. We’ll just prepare for that and one thing, of course, we need everyone to be healthy in the playoffs,” Monteverde said.
Monteverde said the Fighting Maroons will continue to embrace the team’s principles entering the post-elimination stage of Season 86.
“We will always concentrate on the things that we can improve on, winning or losing games. We always have to learn so it’s important for us to see through this game what we still need to do. We just have to concentrate first on ourselves before dealing with which opponent are we going to face,” he said.