BLIA championship a big boost for UP with UAAP 82 looming large

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jul 25, 2019 03:12 PM
BLIA championship a big boost for UP with UAAP looming large
Photo courtesy of UP Men’s Basketball Team (Keith Magcaling)

For the first time in a long time, the University of the Philippines has tasted a championship.

The Fighting Maroons put on a strong showing in the 2019 Buddha's Light International Association (BLIA) Cup a week ago and ultimately put their hands around a well-earned trophy.

Of course, the title - a rare feat for a team that had just gotten out of its so-called "dark days" - is much welcome. "We've got what it takes to win. We've got what it takes to win the championship," head coach Bo Perasol said in the contract renewal between State U and longtime backer Robinsons Group of Companies, Thursday in the Executive House inside the Diliman campus.

More importantly, it's yet another proof that the maroon and green is right on track for continued contention. "Before playing in the championship, we had struggles and it's important that we had to go through that. Meaning, how is Kobe [Paras] going to play with his teammates, how will we play without Ricci [Rivero] and Juan [Gomez de Liano]," their always amiable mentor shared.

He then continued, "But ang maganda nga, we were abe to get through that. Ang takeaways from that is that we can come back and win"

With their main tournament just two months away, Coach Bo said that the BLIA Cup championship is yet another step in UP's climb to the mountaintop. "After this, meron pa kaming dalawang plano - upcoming trip to Serbia and then a tournament in Shanghai," he said, referring to their continuing buildup to UAAP 82.

He then continued, "I'm just hoping that we will be complete because that has been our challenge this offseason."

By then, the Fighting Maroons are nothing but hopeful that both Juan GDL and Rivero - slowed down by back spasms and an ankle sprain, respectively - will be back at full strength to firm up their fully loaded core.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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