Desiderio proud UP’s ‘Atin ‘to’ spirit is alive and well in UAAP 82

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 09, 2019 04:44 PM
Desiderio proud UP’s ‘Atin ‘to’ spirit is alive and well
(Photos by Arvin Lim, Josh Albelda)

The University of the Philippines is yet to have a double-digit margin of victory in the UAAP 82 Men's Basketball Tournament.

In their nine wins, the Fighting Maroons' biggest winning margin was six at the expense of Far Eastern University and University of the East.

Even more, six of their wins have come by three points or less.

Without a doubt, State U has found itself in more close contests than any other team in the tournament.

And yet, again and again, they fought - and more often than not, they won.

With that, it's safe to say that the battle cry Paul Desiderio breathed life into is alive and well - even as he is now making his alma mater proud with the Blackwater Elite in the PBA.

"Oo. Kitang-kita mo pa rin yun sa kanila," he answered after being asked if he could still sense "Atin 'to" in this iteration of UP's men's basketball team. "Basta close games, hindi sila nagpapatalo, hindi sila sumusuko. Laban lang hanggang sa dulo."

Of course, nobody would ever forget that it was behind Desiderio that the Fighting Maroons announced they are now a force to reckon with.

With him leading the way, they ended a 21-year Final Four drought and then ended a 32-year Finals absence.

Now, State U is in prime position to build on that momentum as it boasts of the second-seed and a twice-to-beat advantage for the first time in school history. "Malaking bagay na naabot ng UP yung no. 2 kasi dati, nasa baba lang kami, wala pang nanonood. Ngayon, kitang-kita mo yung suporta ng community," Desiderio said.

He then continued, "Sobrang happy kami kasi talagang makikita mong umangat yung programa. Malaking credit yun kay Coach Bo para madala yung team sa back-to-back na Final Four."

Still, the Diliman legend also reminded that the job is far from finished. "Kailangan nila, be more disciplined and mag-focus on their roles. Kailangan, yung eyes nila, nasa bigger picture," he said.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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