For the first time in a long time, UP is all-in for UAAP 82

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 02, 2019 06:48 PM
For the first time in a long time, UP is all-in for UAAP 82
Juan Gomez de Liano, now in his third year, and all of UP are dreaming even bigger than their runner-up finish last season

HOW’D THEY DO LAST SEASON? 8-6, runner-up

YES, THEY’RE STILL HERE: Bright Akhuetie, Javi Gomez de Liano, Juan Gomez de Liano, Will Gozum, Janjan Jaboneta, Jun Manzo, Jerson Prado, Jaydee Tungcab

WELCOME TO THE FAMILY: J-Boy Gob, Jaybie Mantilla, Kobe Paras, Ricci Rivero, Noah Webb (returning from injury)

GOOD LUCK ON FUTURE ENDEAVORS: Diego Dario, Paul Desiderio, Jarrell Lim, Gelo Vito

WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM UP?

For sure, UP is no longer an also-ran, no longer a pushover, no longer an afterthought.

What the Fighting Maroons have become is a brand new heavyweight that is a legitimate threat to the championship belt Ateneo has held in the last two years.

Why is that? Returning for State U is UAAP 81 Season MVP Bright Akhuetie and Mythical Team member Juan Gomez de Liano as well as now-team captain Jun Manzo, Javi Gomez de Liano, Janjan Jaboneta, Jerson Prado, and Jaydee Tungcab.

Then, arriving in Diliman are Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero – a couple of generational talents who have all the confidence and capability to turn the tide in favor of their new team.

Add all of that together and what you have is the strongest squad to wear the maroon and green in a long, long time.

WHO IS/ARE THE PLAYER/S TO WATCH OUT FOR FROM UP?

There is no doubt that Paras and Rivero are big gets for UP.

What has to be seen if the Fighting Maroons are to live up to the hype, however, is for the likes of Akhuetie, Manzo, and the GDL brothers to do their best to see to it that those two talented transferees buy into the program.

Most, if not all, eyes will be trained on how Paras and Rivero resume their careers, but at the same time, Juan GDL also has to take another step forward – this time, most importantly, in terms of leadership.

The cupboard of talent is most certainly fully loaded, but the void left behind by school legend Paul Desiderio is yet to be filled – and among all players, its Juan GDL, the homegrown star, who is actually the ready-made replacement.

WHY SHOULD WE ROOT FOR UP?

UP's climb back to the mountaintop in recent history has been slow and steady, but now, State U has its best shot at ending a more than three decade-long title drought.

UP may not be underdogs anymore, but that doesn’t change the fact that what has happened to them in the past years is proof that, indeed, there is nowhere to go but up.

WHERE WOULD UP BE AT THE END OF UAAP SEASON 82?

Just like Ateneo, UP is returning a mostly intact core that actually improved with additions of prized prospects.

And just like the Blue Eagles, the Fighting Maroons may very well be back in the Finals.

The questions about chemistry cannot be denied. At the same time, however, there is also too much talent here for State U to be denied entry into level of the elite.

WHEN IS UP’S FIRST GAME IN UAAP SEASON 82?

UP’s first tough test in a season overflowing with expectations is FEU in a heavyweight battle on September 4 at Araneta Coliseum.

Of course, everybody goes All for More and, as always, all of the action will be on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and livestream.

HERE’S WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE SEVEN OTHER TEAMS IN UAAP SEASON 82:

With its arsenal fully loaded, UE’s ambush good to go in UAAP 82

UAAP 82 one more chance for NU to piece the puzzle together

Espana’s hope in UAAP 82? Cansino’s return to form, UST’s return to playoffs

All-Filipino La Salle all set to cut UAAP 82 rivals down to size

Brave FEU not backing down from more heralded UAAP 82 rivals

Behind Ahanmisi, Adamson’s youth will be on the march in UAAP 82

Ateneo out to give its latest golden generation a fitting farewell in UAAP 82

 

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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