UAAP: This is what happens when the UP community shows up

Danine Cruz on Nov 15, 2018 10:49 AM
This is what happens when the UP community shows up
The UP community pushes the Fighting Maroons to excel.

The biggest and most important game of the University of the Philippines in UAAP Season 81 fell on a Wednesday.

Despite it being a work day and a school day, the UP community still showed up at the Mall of Asia Arena to personally support and witness the Fighting Maroons snap a 21-year Final Four drought.

It may not be one of those victories that was solely spirited on the energy of the sixth man, but the presence of the sea of maroon reminded the players who they were doing this for -- for the UP community, the extremely hungry UP community.

"The expectations I said in my first year and second year, I wanted them to expect a lot from us because when you expect something like that, you see the crowd. They will be there. I want [the community] to pressure, to push the team to excel," coach Bo Perasol said moments after the historic win.

He then went on to compare their community to schools with equally rabid supporters.

"That’s how the bigger programs are, like Ateneo, La Salle, FEU. They’re there. I’m just happy that we are with the community in sharing that feeling,” he added.

Even team captain Paul Desiderio, a player who has always drawn energy from the crowd, couldn't help but express his gratitude to the fans in attendance.

"Sobrang saya ko kasi sobrang hyped yung community. Sobrang first time ko na mas marami kami sa La Salle," he said with a big smile on his face.

Desiderio engaged the crowd with his usual animated antics and his now-possibly new iconic move, the waving of his white towel.

The UP supporters weren't just there during the game.

A crowd of supporters waited outside the arena to welcome some members of the team.

The engineer of UP's fight back to relevance was given a rockstar treatment the moment he stepped out of the arena.

It was fitting because for Perasol, everything that he has been doing for the last three years in UP is all for the community.

"'Yung burden ko kasi is to win it for the community eh. No, it’s not a push from them that you need to win but it’s the other way around. You see them, you have been in the institution for quite a long time, iniisip mo they’re really hungry for it, they’re really thirsty for it, you want to deliver it to them," he said.

Inspired basketball. Final Four berth. End of the drought. This is what happens when the UP community shows up.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @the9cruz

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