No bonfire as Manuel says UP just ‘needed to feel we can win’

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 21, 2016 07:59 PM
No bonfire as Manuel says UP ‘needed to feel we can win'
GREATER GOALS. Jett Manuel and UP will be shooting for bigger things other than one win.

First things first, there will be no bonfire in the Sunken Garden to celebrate the University of the Philippines’ first win in the UAAP 79 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Fighting Maroons coach Bo Perasol and team captain Jett Manuel said as much after they prevailed over the University of the East on Wednesday.

Nonetheless, the first-year coach of UP shared he now comprehends why the Diliman community celebrates – or at least, wants to celebrate – each and every win like it was a championship. As he put it, “Sasabihin ng iba, ang corny ng UP, isang panalo lang, bonfire na. Pero when you’re in the program, ganun pala kasaya kapag nag-struggle ka tapos nananalo ka.”

He then continued, “The community can see na while we do our best, most of the time, we fall short. When we come out as victors, they can finally celebrate with us.”

While they won’t be filling the Sunken Garden like it was the UP Fair, Perasol said the win still represented a breakthrough that was reason for celebration. “Napakalaking panalo ‘to. Mangiyak-ngiyak na nga si Jett at Paul (Desiderio) kasi iniisip-isip nila kung mag-0-14 ba kami,” he said.

He also added, “Now, we’re one hump over. Ngayon, iisipin na lang namin is yung susunod na laro.”

Along with the lifted burden, the UP alumnus said the long-awaited and much-wanted win proved that they have a program that can compete. “This is proof that we can win games against a tough team like UE,” he expressed.

Manuel could only agree. “The team needed to feel na we can win. In order to prepare for the next games better, we needed to take that pressure away. That pressure kasi, it gets heavier every game so we’re happy we took that away na,” he said.

Without a doubt, State U has to thank their team captain for taking charge in taking that pressure away. It was him who scored on a tough jumper that eventually became the go-ahead basket in their rise out of the bottom of the standings now at 1-3.

Talking about his mindset then, the graduating guard said, “Nothing to lose na e. I felt I needed to make it my responsibility to make something happen for my team.”

Still, Manuel and Perasol were quick to clarify that this first win will not be their biggest win in the season. “We hope we can capitalize on this because there’s still 10 more games,” the Maroons’ mentor expressed.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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