Coach Bo on UP vs Ateneo: 'Malay mo, malasin sila'
The UP Fighting Maroons have to undergo a brutal acid test against undefeated Ateneo and then also desperate NU in order to even have a crack at an opportunity for their first Final Four appearance in 20 years.
Although caught between a rock and a hard place in their final two matchups against Ateneo and FEU, the UP Fighting Maroons are entering both games with a very positive mindset, according to head coach Bo Perasol.
Perasol, referring the herculean task of giving the 12-0 Ateneo Blue Eagles their first loss, said that whatever happens, the Fighting Maroons must be aware of their ongoing experiences in order to utilize them for the future.
"What a way for us to end our season with a win against a team without a loss. That's a very tall order, but then again, lalaruin pa rin namin eh. Malay mo, malasin sila," Perasol said on his team's mindset for the next two games.
Though they have an uphill climb in qualifying for the Final Four for the first time since 1997, the UP tactician mentioned that each and every game this season has been a learning experience for the young and feisty Fighting Maroons.
"Ang importante is we have to be conscious, we have to be aware of what's happening so that kung ano man ang matutunan namin sa mga games na ito, sa mga crucial games na ito, baka mai-share namin sa mga susunod na seasons. Matuto kami (how to play) collectively, playing with pressure, playing with so much at stake."
The former Powerade coach was not satisfied with UP's performance on Sunday, which he called not worthy for the postseason.
Though the UP crowd had blamed officiating for the crucial Adamson run in the third quarter, Perasol did not agree with their opinion.
Instead, he pointed out that his young players were not defending properly, particularly against MVP candidate Papi Sarr who dominated the paint and finished the game with 25 points and 14 rebounds.
"...We had to field in people who are really not defensive players, but are offensive players. We cannot score eh. We can't score. That was really our dilemma at the time. Nahirapan kami sa rotation namin."
The Maroons, who have a mixture of very young players and several veterans, got the worse of the chippiness in the game which had several stoppages due to flaring emotions.
"In a way, nagkaroon din kami ng konting run, but it wasn't enough. Kasi konting girian, sila 'yung nakaka-shoot eh. Doon kami nadadali nang todo. We have to be better and we have to take something out of that."
Though the injury bug had bitten UP, sidelining star rookie Juan Gomez de Liaño with an ankle sprain and hampering starters Jun Manzo and Ibrahim Ouatarra, the former Maroon expects his players to be available for their biggest game of the season thus far. "Sabi ko nga we cannot fight if we're not complete. We have to fight complete and we have to finish this season na todo ang aming force. "
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