MANILA, Philippines – University of the Philippines (UP) appeared to be in a freefall in UAAP Season 80 after a shock loss to University of the East (UE) two weeks ago, which saw the Fighting Maroons fail to stop UE hotshot Alvin Pasaol.
But UP rebounded from that disheartening defeat in an epic way, as they stunned Far Eastern University (FEU), thanks to a game-winning three-pointer by Paul Desiderio.
The Fighting Maroons are now hoping that their crucial victory over the Tamaraws will fuel their charge in their final three elimination round games.
“This is a morale-boosting win for us,” said UP coach Bo Perasol, who chewed out his players for their lackluster play in their defeat to UE.
“Sabi ko nga, ‘yung mga struggles namin, these are the things we need to undergo in order for us to grow,” he said. “Habang nandito kami sa mga struggle, medyo painful, masakit. Naga-away-away kami.”
“But the important thing is we have the same goal in mind, and that’s to uplift our program.”
Their win over FEU put UP’s record at 5-6, allowing them to tie the Tamaraws at the No. 4 spot in the league standings. Both teams have a tough closing stretch – FEU plays UE, National University (NU), and Adamson University; while UP still has to deal with Adamson, Ateneo de Manila University, and NU.
For Perasol, however, just to be in a good position towards the end of the elimination round is already good for them.
“‘Yun ang sinasabi namin – just to get a good chance,” he said.
“In fact, hindi na namin pinag-uusapan ngayon ‘yung standings, kasi it gives us undue pressure,” Perasol revealed. “We just talk about enjoying the game, just making sure that we will have a chance.”
Nevertheless, the coach also stressed that if they hope to build on their win against FEU, they will have to play much better than they did against the Tamaraws.
The Fighting Maroons’ victory over FEU came despite a disastrous five-point third quarter, as they limited the Tams to only nine points in the payoff period.
“I think that if we are going to be at our very best every game, then I think we will have a chance,” said Perasol.
The Maroons return to action on Sunday against Adamson.
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