UAAP: Don't stop Bo-lieving, hold on to that feeling, UP!

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 15, 2018 05:02 PM
UAAP: Don't stop Bo-lieving, hold on to that feeling, UP!
It took an alumnus in coach Bo Perasol to lead UP back to the Final Four after a more than two decade absence

When head coach Bo Perasol exited the dugout of the University of the Philippines inside the MOA Arena last Wednesday, he was serenaded with cheers, applause, and “UP Fight!”

For the mentor who guided the Fighting Maroons to their first Final Four since 1997, it was nothing but well-deserved.

After all, as early as the first round of UAAP Season 81, there were those who were questioning if Coach Bo was the right fit for a State U side with grand plans of breaking through the proverbial glass ceiling. “Yung journey, definitely wasn’t easy,” he told reporters as he looked back at what they went through to get here.

This season was always supposed to be when UP ends its 21-year playoff drought.

At one point, however, they stood at 3-5, tied for the sixth and seventh spots in the eight-team tournament.

Of course, Coach Bo could only admit that then, he himself had doubts. “Pag naririnig niyo akong sinisigawan sila, I wanted to leave them kasi parang iniisip ko, is this worth it? If I keep pushing you then you are not responding, I have an obligation to the community na if I’m not effective as your leader, then I might as well step down,” he shared.

He then continued, “This is not about me. This is about winning for the community.”

Indeed, the 45-year-old mentor reiterated that ever since he took this post back in 2016, giving the UP community just what they deserved was always his first and foremost goal. As he put it, “Yung burden ko kasi is to win it for the community. There isn’t a push from them na you need to win eh – it’s the other way around.”

He then continued, “You see them, you’ve been in UP for a long time, and makikita mong they’re hungry for it. You want it to deliver it to them. Yun yung stress ko, pero alam ko naman na kaya eh.”

Now, the Fighting Maroons have proven their coach correct all along – poised to play in their first Final Four game in 21 years.

And all of it began because Coach Bo believed – and kept on believing no matter what his doubters said. “Sometimes, you doubt yourself, tao lang tayo eh, but I have to be an example of confidence at what we’ve put it. Mararamdaman natin ang pressure, but you need to go through that para ma-achieve mo yung gusto mo,” he said.

With that, the entire Diliman community is, for the first time in a long time, believing – or more pointedly, “Bo-lieving.”

For all of those who did not and still do not? “Wala akong masasabi kasi hindi ko naman sila masasagot din eh. Wala akong social media,” the architect of UP’s rebuild said through chuckles.

He then continued, “Bahala na lang ang mga players kong sumagot.”

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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