UAAP Finals: UP Fighting Maroons vow to take Game 2
Danine Cruz on Dec 01, 2018 10:10 PM
University of the Philippines point guards Jun Manzo and Diego Dario vowed to bounce back after their Game 1 loss to the Ateneo de Manila University in the UAAP Season 81 Men's Basketball Finals.
In the opening game of the series, Manzo tied his career-high with 19 points to go along with four rebounds and three assists. Dario on the other hand provided nine points and two rebounds. He converted three triples in the first half to keep them at pace with the Eagles.
However, their efforts went down the drain as they ultimately bowed down to Ateneo, 88-79. UP also had to deal with Bright Akhuetie's absence during the middle of the third quarter to the beginning of the fourth. Akhuetie suffered a strain after he hyperextended his left knee following a contact from Ange Kouame.
"Siyempre pag wala si Bright kasi sa court, parang hindi namin makukuha yung rebounds. Nakita naman sa stats na marami silang offensive rebounds nung nawala si Bright. Kaya malaking kawalan talaga pag mawala si Bright sa amin," said Manzo.
"Sa game kanina it was a big loss, like a few minutes na wala si Bright that is kind of a big loss, kasi sabi nga ni coach, Bright has a multiplier effect on the team so when Bright's there everyone gets better because all the defense is attracted to him," shared Dario.
Looking at the silver lining, despite Akhuetie's absence, UP was able to keep within striking distance of Ateneo.
"Yung lead nila parang hindi naman masyadong lumamang [ng todo]," said Manzo.
Dario shared that Akhuetie's injury became their rallying point during those Akhuetie-less moments.
"Gelo Vito talked to us when Bright got out. Sabi niya, we'll do it for Bright. Do everything to you know win this game to compete with Ateneo so that is what we did and I think we had a good fight against them," added Dario.
Unfortunately, despite the gallant stand, Matt Nieto and Thirdy Ravena took charge in the end game, leaving UP with no reply.
"[Nagkulang kami sa] end game execution. We had two turnovers I think in the last four minutes so we have to work on that, be more disciplined especially in the end game. When we're tired also syempre heavy minutes din yung iba they have to think and play through the fatigue," said Dario.
The loss exposed UP's lack of finals exposure. The Fighting Maroons will just charge this to experience and will get back to the drawing board on Monday.
"We just have to make adjustments. I told them to keep their heads up. As a senior I have to lead the team, we'll rest up," said the graduating Dario, "We have two days of rest, we were kinda beat up then so we have to rest tomorrow then we'll go back to training on Monday."
"Masasabi ko lang yung team namin gutom kaya hindi namin papakawalan yung chance na binigay sa amin ng Lord. Next game, babawi talaga kami," closed Manzo.
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