UNIVERSITY of the Philippines still has something to be grateful for despite falling short of making it to the UAAP men’s basketball Finals for the second straight year.
For coach Bo Perasol, finishing third is still an accomplishment for the Fighting Maroons, who also clinched their first-ever top two elimination round finish in the Final Four era.
“This program, modesty aside, had made great leaps, in terms of how we’ve competed in this UAAP tournament for the last four years. We have affected positively also our community,” said Perasol
From being the perennial whipping boys, the Maroons made a turnaround under Perasol capped by a Finals appearance last year. UP though was eventually swept by Ateneo in its first championship stint since 1986.
The Diliman-based squad made it to the semifinals for the second straight year, only to squander the twice-to-beat advantage to a determined University of Santo Tomas.
Perasol knows that the Maroons gave everything to rebound from last Sunday’s 69-89 loss to the Tigers but things did not go their way.
“The game? I think it’s just a shame that one team is only going to win. No, I think that the way we have played, we also deserve to win that game. But UST really played well and hats off to coach Aldin (Ayo) who has a great influence over his players,” said Perasol after Wednesday’s 65-68 defeat that eliminated UP from the title race.
“And you know, we just have to count our blessings and where we are right now. It wasn’t, as all of you have realized it wasn’t easy sailing for us. But mostly it’s not because we lacked the talent but because we needed to sacrifice and we everybody admitted that earlier. We knew we needed to sacrifice our egos a lot. We sacrificed a lot,” he added.
There were a lot of expectations for the Maroons this year with the addition of Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero to complement MVP Bright Akhuetie.
But things didn’t turn out fine.