With four wins under their belts, Maroons now true ‘Bo-lievers’

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Oct 28, 2016 08:47 PM
Four wins under their belts, Maroons now true ‘Bo-lievers'
BO-LIEVE. Coach Bo Perasol has turned long-time cellar-dweller UP into a competitive crew.

With National University desperately rallying behind J-Jay Alejandro inside the last four minutes last Wednesday, University of the Philippines and coach Bo Perasol didn’t have any timeout to talk things over.

As it turns out, however, the first-year coach had already said what he wanted and what he needed to say when he called his last timeout at the midway mark of the final frame. “I had to call an early timeout because I had to tell them that this is where we need to believe that we can win,” he shared post-game.

He then continued, “Yung mga six minutes (to go), I had to remind them na medyo maaga pa and magra-rally ulit ang NU. What can we do to prevent that and eventually get a win?”

Perasol proved prophetic as from a score of 66-52 inside the last four minutes, Alejandro towed the Bulldogs to within four points with 31 ticks on the clock. They could have even come closer, but Med Salim’s layup rolled around the ring before falling out.

Seconds later, a split from the stripe by rookie Javi Gomez de Liano sealed the deal in the Fighting Maroons’ rise into a 4-8 standing and shared possession of fifth-place.

UP made it a little bit more difficult for themselves, but team captain Jett Manuel was adamant that it was all part of their growing pains. As he put it, “It wasn’t the way we wanted to end and it was a bit frustrating, but I think it’s still part of learning. We haven’t been winners for a while.”

He then continued, “Even me, personally, I’m learning a lot about how to win with coach Bo.”

Indeed, in just his maiden season, Perasol has guided the Maroons into breaching the four-win mark for the first time in a decade. At 4-8 and with assignments against the bottom two teams to go in their schedule, they still have a chance to catch up with 5-5 and fourth-running Adamson University.

That means that the State U alumnus has already made good on his promise to improve upon their 3-11 record from a season ago. “We’re happy that we exceeded the three games (from last year). That’s the goal we put before the season,” he expressed.

That has not been lost on team management who now feel completely confident that they made the right choice. Even assistant team manager Mel Macasaquit had to say after the euphoria of their fourth win, “The best decision we ever made was to get Bo.”

UP players could only agree. Asked if he now a true “Bo-liever,” he answered, “Oo, ‘Bo-liever’ ako sa kanya. Susundin ko lang si coach kasi alam ko, lahat ng sinasabi niya, yun yung magpapaganda sa team.”

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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