UAAP Finals: Bo Perasol has a message for his critics from Ateneo

Danine Cruz on Nov 30, 2018 04:14 PM
UAAP Finals: Perasol has a message for his critics from ADMU
"Walang animosity in my heart when I go up against [Ateneo]" -- UP's Bo Perasol on meeting former team Ateneo in the Finals

On Saturday, Bo Perasol will be in the position to prove himself further to the University of the Philippines community during the UAAP Season 81 best-of-three Finals series. As a sidelight, he will also have every chance to redeem himself against  Ateneo de Manila University, which happens to be his former employer for three years.

Before he became the head tactician of the Finals-bound Maroons, he was the head coach of the Kiefer Ravena-headlined Ateneo from Seasons 76 to 78.

But those three years were not as fruitful as every Atenean wanted it to be. Either they completely missed qualifying for the Final Four or fell mercilessly short of a Finals ticket.

He inherited an Ateneo team that was fresh from five consecutive championships under Norman Black's tutelage and the great Blue Eagle Ravena was in his prime years. The pressure to deliver was so heavy that when those campaigns failed, Perasol earned a lot of critics who second-guessed his decision-making.

Months after leaving Ateneo, he signed up with his alma mater to mentor the Fighting Maroons. It was a gradual build-up starting with a sixth place finish in Season 79, a fifth place finish in Season 80, to this year's Finals berth.

His perseverance with the former cellar dwellers is finally coming to fruition. The plot just thickens given the fact that it will be against his former team Ateneo. But Perasol wants to make things clear, this is not personal business.

"What I have with Ateneo is just, in fact, gratefulness. I'm very thankful to them for giving me the chance, for believing in me. If they did not believe, I mean the people who managed the team, if they did not believe in me hundred percent, I wouldn't be there for two more years. First year palang natanggal na ako dun," said the current UP mentor.

"Naniniwala ako na walang animosity in my heart when I go up against these people," he added.

Days leading up to the Battle of Katipunan, there have been a lot of friendly banter on social media regarding the very interesting David and Goliath match-up. One memorable meme that came from the back-and-forth of the fans was a sarcastic one that goes along the lines of "Sa wakas, mabibigyan na ni Bo ang Ateneo ng championship. #OBF" Reporters have mentioned the meme to the amiable UP tactician and said he isn’t affected.

"Okay lang yun. Again, we cannot control the minds of other people. If I'm going to entertain those thoughts, I wouldn't be here. I wouldn't have had the patience or the courage to go on kapag ako apektado lagi sa mga ganun," he said.

He leaves it up to the equally witty UP community to come up with some other clever reply.

"Ang dami ring patawa ng mga taga UP against Ateneo. That should be the case, kaya nga naging entertaining itong basketball na ito and we're just parang nagiging pawns lang tayo dito and at the end of this we are still going to play 40 minutes of basketball, nothing personal about that," Perasol added who is also celebrating his 47th birthday on the eve of Game 1.

The Finals series between UP and Ateneo would be the perfect stage for Perasol's redemption but this is not about him. Being the heavy underdogs in this series, Perasol goes back to the rhetoric that this will always be for and about the UP community.

"They say that being an underdog will limit the expectations but I don't think the expectations of the UP community are quite limited right now. They would want to go all the way even if they know that we are the overwhelming underdogs," he said.

"It also says how hungry we are and it's just a matter of thinking that regardless of the odds, you still have to fight through the game," he added.

All UAAP fans will have the best-of-three Battle of Katipunan series to find out whether Perasol's redemption storyline will come full circle by the end of the season or not. The games will start on Saturday, December 1 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

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