UAAP Finals: Better 'Bo-lieve' it, UP is here to stay

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Dec 06, 2018 02:20 PM
UAAP Finals: Better 'Bo-lieve' it, UP is here to stay
Juan GDL, Bright Akhuetie, and the rest of UP aren't going anywhere anytime soon

The University of the Philippines got swept by Ateneo de Manila University in the Finals of the UAAP 81 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Still, the season will always be remembered as the time when the Fighting Maroons ended their 21-year playoff drought and their 32-year Finals absence.

More than that, the season may very well be remembered as when State U formalized its return to relevance.

“Oo naman. ‘Winning Maroons’ na kami. Our minds are there already,” head coach Bo Perasol proudly said, even after they have just gotten blanked in the championship round.

Indeed, from 2007 to 2015, UP only won 13 times out of 126 games. Those days have been self-depreciatingly called “the dark days.”

Since head coach Bo Perasol took over, however, they have gone 19-23.

Making “Bo-lievers” out of skeptics, coach Bo has led his alma mater to its best showing since 1986 with a runner-up finish they wrapped up on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.

Yes, the Fighting Maroons were only runners-up to the Blue Eagles, but relative to the former who had just gotten out of “the dark days,” silver seems like gold.

And, if coach Bo is to still be “Bo-lieved,” they are far from finished. “We already did it and we’re enjoying the (aftermath) of that – the praise, the adulation – but we need to move on from that. I’m so excited about my prospects kahit na ang expectations, mataas ngayon and next year, how much more” he said.

He then continued, “It’s gonna be the Finals now, not (just) the Final Four. It’s about the Finals when we go back because if I say it’s (just) Finals Four, no one’s gonna believe them now.”

Keep doubting him and UP at your own risk – what’s sure is that the Fighting Maroons won’t stop “Bo-lieving.”

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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