UAAP Finals: Coach Goldwin urges UP to overcome pressure as Game 3 looms
LIVE UPDATES: UAAP Finals Game 3 UP vs La Salle
MANILA, Philippines —With any finals series comes great pressure and that’s what University of the Philippines coach Goldwin Monteverde wants his players to remember and overcome as the UAAP Finals goes down to a winner-take-all game.
The Fighting Maroons are set to play their third straight rubber match in the UAAP Finals as they look to clinch the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball crown against La Salle on Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
And if the intensity in the first two games was any indication, the pressure in Game 3 is going to be even higher and Monteverde urged his players to be ready for it.
SCHEDULE: UAAP Season 86 basketball Finals
“From the very start of the game, you should know what’s at stake and what kind of intensity in the finals. Whatever pressure is involved there we should take it like men and stay focused to overcome that,” said Monteverde in Filipino.
UP won its first do-or-die Game 3 last year behind JD Cagulangan’s championship-clinching triple to end a 36-year title drought in Season 84 against Ateneo. But the Blue Eagles got their sweet revenge in Season 85, completing a series comeback.
Monteverde and his wards were forced to another decider anew after failing to complete a sweep as La Salle pulled off an 82-60 victory in Game 2 on Sunday.
“It is what it is. We’re not gonna make any reasons whatever the turnout of Game 2. But rather we’re gonna look inside us what we should do. What’s important for us is we still have a chance in Game 3,” said the UP coach. “But we should learn from it.”
Monteverde admitted the Green Archers had more energy in Game 2 as they got outrebounded, 46-58. The Fighting Maroons also shot 29 percent from the field and 2-of-19 from the three-point line.
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“I thought La Salle had more energy. This kind of game would teach us what kind of effort to be able to get the championship,” he said. “Part of it was rebounds. I think they were getting most of the 50-50s. For me, that’s huge but then again definitely we’ll learn from that.”
Led by graduating players CJ Cansino and Malick Diouf, UP tries to capture its fourth UAAP title — second in three tournaments —at 6 p.m. at the Big Dome.
“We should learn to be consistent playing as a team. It would really count how to face challenges, not as an individual rather than to face challenges working together, helping each other out in this kind of situation,” said Monteverde, who also relies on Harold Alarcon, Francis Lopez, JD Cagulangan, and Gerry Abadiano.