Coach Bo says UAAP Finals Game 1 proved UP can hang with Ateneo

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Dec 03, 2018 05:57 PM
Coach Bo says Game 1 proved UP can hang with Ateneo
UP kept coming at Ateneo for majority of the matchup in the opener of the UAAP 81 Finals

The University of the Philippines’ Cinderella run may very well miss out on the ending it desires.

Down 0-1 in the best-of-three Finals to defending champion Ateneo de Manila University, there’s a big chance the Fighting Maroons will have to settle for a runner-up finish in their best season since 1986.

However, State U head coach Bo Perasol is still keeping the faith. “Very positive ako. That’s the truth.”

Pressed further on the matter, Coach Bo said that despite the Game 1 loss, he and his wards proved they are no pushovers up against the heavily favored Blue Eagles. “Game 1, it gave us yung idea na beatable (yung Ateneo). Before, wala namang nagbigay nang tsansa sa amin e,” he told reporters post-game last Saturday.

He then continued, “Dati, parang, ‘Okay, very good, UP,’ pero wala namang nagsasabing tatalunin namin ang Ateneo. Kung meron man, lip service lang yun, pero ito, naramdaman nila na kaya pala.”

Indeed, UP kept coming at Ateneo for majority of the match-up, and it took a 14-2 run late in the game for the latter to be able to put away the former.

This, even though the Fighting Maroons came into the contest as the biggest underdogs in the Finals in recent history. In fact, majority, if not all, oddsmakers put the Blue Eagles as 10.5-point favorites in Game 1.

That is exactly why, somehow, someway, coach Bo believes UP still has a shot at toppling Ateneo. “Before this series, iniisip mo paano tayo mabubugbog dito. Ngayon, ang paniniwala na namin is we can compete with the defending champions if we put our minds into it and we keep doing what we have been doing this season,” he said.

After all, they are where they are because they did just that – first, besting De La Salle University in the battle for the third-seed to end the elimination round; second, edging out Adamson University to discard its twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four; and third, topping the Soaring Falcons again to take a seat in the Finals.

“I keep on reminding them that getting into this Finals series is not an accident. They did it themselves,” their mentor said proudly. “Baka isipin nila, mirakulo ito, pero hindi, they did it themselves. It becomes more dangerous na we’re in a knockout game and we need to beat them twice, but I told them, we’ve done this already.”

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