Next step in rise of UP? Fight for Final Four, says Perasol

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 15, 2016 02:55 PM
Next step in rise of UP? Fight for Final Four, says Perasol
MOVIN' ON UP. Paul Desiderio and Javi Gomez de Liano will have to keep developing if UP is truly serious about once again making a playoff push.

In only his first season with the University of the Philippines, head coach Bo Perasol guided his alma mater to its best showing in a decade.

The Fighting Maroons ended the elimination round at 5-9, but late in the season, they were still in the running for the playoffs.

Their almost two decade-long Final Four absence continues, but at least for now, State U will not find itself at the bottom of the standings.

In team captain Jett Manuel’s eyes, their surprising success could be credited to the entry of the coach who knows something about winning with an underrated team like Powerade in the PBA and then Ateneo de Manila University in the UAAP. “Not to take away anything from our past coaches, but coach Bo made us know the little things we had to realize in order to win. Those were the things we took for granted the past seasons,” he shared.

He then continued, “I myself didn’t see those until this season so I learned a lot from him. He’s a good coach in terms of teaching us the building blocks on how to win.”

While he has donned the maroon and white for the last time, the graduating guard believes there will not be a letdown for UP next season especially with Perasol still at the helm. “I don’t think there was a face of UP this season because that’s what I’ve been pushing – that we achieve this as a team,” he said.

He then continued, “So next year, siguro it will be coach Bo. Siya na lang yung face namin. Bo-lieve.”

Manuel then went on to mention that promising talent like Paul Desiderio, Diego Dario, and Javi Gomez de Liano will only develop under the continued tutelage of the same mentor.

For his part, Perasol said that now there is continuity in the Diliman program, it’s high time to take the next step. “We’re going to fight for the opportunity for the Final Four. We know we can win, we know we can compete so that’s the next level,” he said.

He then continued, “We need to embrace the challenge na hindi lang lagpas ng lima (ang panalo namin). We have to be fighting for the Final Four.”

The former Maroon also reminded everybody, however, that that next step is easier said than done. “I don’t think we’re going to be the most talented team, but if we can be the most hardworking, we’ll be in a good place all the time,” he shared.

On that front, Perasol assured the UP community that their men’s basketball team has also improved. “Yun ang importante e, that we’re going to have that mindset that we can win if not in terms of our talent, in terms of what we can do as a whole,” he said.

He also added, “The thing I’m also very proud with what we did is we already believe that we can compete with the best.”

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