UAAP Finals: Harold Alarcon uses last season’s title loss to lead UP win
MANILA, Philippines — Fueled by last season’s finals heartbreak, Harold Alarcon delivered for University of the Philippines in a dominant Finals Game 1 win over La Salle to move closer to reclaiming the UAAP crown.
Alarcon, who was one of the few holdovers from last year’s runner-up team, admitted that he can still feel the pain of their tough Game 3 loss to Ateneo.
“The pain is still there from last season. But we just have to keep the fire burning when you experience such [heartbreaking] loss,” Alarcon told Inquirer Sports in Filipino after rising to the occasion in their 97-67 rout of La Salle on Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena.
The third-year guard topscored for the Fighting Maroons with a game-high 21 points on top of two assists and two rebounds to lead the most lopsided Game 1 in the Final Four era.
Alarcon charged that heartbreak to experience in their pursuit to regain the championship in their third straight Finals appearance and marveled at their teamwork this year.
“Siguro yung nakuha ko last season individual kasi halos lahat last season and nakikita halos kami lahat. Ngayon, team effort na. Yung trust andon sa bawat isa,” he said.
(What we learned last season was we were more of individuals. Now, we’re showing [a good] team effort. The trust is there.)
Leading a team with several newcomers, Alarcon always makes sure that he guides them through his actions in practice and games so they will follow his lead.
“I’m guiding them through my actions. If they see that I work hard in practice, they follow. I also give them a constant reminder not to let up,” he said.
After a rousing performance, Alarcon reminds his teammates that the job is not done knowing that in the Maroons’ previous two finals appearances, they lost in Game 2.
Alarcon hopes to recapture the crown this season and redeem themselves from last year’s heartbreak as the Fighting Maroons try to complete a series sweep on Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.