UAAP Finals: As telenovelas go, 'aping-aping' UP now fighting back

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 30, 2018 05:36 PM
As telenovelas go, 'aping-aping' UP now fighting back
Started from the bottom, now we here - here being a historic Finals berth for UP

These are all the milestones UP have reached in the UAAP Season 81 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

First, at 7-6, they already registered their best showing in 14 seasons.

Then, at 8-6, they claimed their first Final Four berth since 1997.

Then, in discarding Adamson University’s twice-to-beat advantage, they won in the playoffs for the first time in 21 years.

Then, by doubling down against the Soaring Falcons, they climbed to their first Finals since 1986.

All of this, after the Fighting Maroons only won 13 times out of 126 games from 2007 to 2015.

Even more, it wasn’t enough for them to just make history – they also did so in the most colorful ways possible.

Most recently, in their knockout bout with Adamson last Wednesday, UP lost a five-point lead in the last two minutes of regulation and then had to come back from six points down in overtime to come out on top.

Afterwards, head coach Bo Perasol could only liken the classic contest to a TV drama. “If you are going to make it like a telenovela, how are you going to make it better than that? You already won it, but then, iniisip ko, how can you win it better,” he shared.

He then continued, “We did that with the overtime win.”

Indeed, that comparison may very well be apt for the Fighting Maroons who have been down in the dumps for so long and have long-awaited the moment to get back up and march forward. “Tama, masasabi nating ang UP, aping-api dati tapos ngayon, lumalaban na. Mula sa baba, pero lumalaban na para umangat,” Coach Bo said.

And their mentor is the very person who has a right to say such as when he arrived in Diliman three years ago, changing the culture was his mission.

Now with a Finals berth, it’s mission accomplished for Coach Bo. “The biggest transformation for us is we don’t enjoy losing anymore. Before, I could see that they were laughing after losing and I had to question that,” he shared.

He then continued, “When you get in people who are winners, they tend to inspire and influence the others. Yung mentality na we cannot lose, na if you hate losing, you need to win so how can you win? Those are the questions that I think changed our mindset.”

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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