Coach Bo hoping for better balance with recruitment 'getting out of hand'
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on May 13, 2020 05:31 PM
(Photo by Arvin Lim)
The University of the Philippines is now a legitimate contender in the UAAP Men's Basketball Tournament.
After ending a 21-year playoff drought and then a 32-year Finals absence in Season 81, the Fighting Maroons scored their first-ever second-seed and twice-to-beat advantage in Season 82.
Ultimately, State U has yet to win its first championship since 1986, but the fact remains that it is now a legitimate contender.
With that, comes heavier weight in terms of recruitment.
And with that, comes more promising prospects.
"That's one of the major changes our program is enjoying right now. We became a destination for players who years before, wouldn't even think about going to UP," head coach Bo Perasol said in the Hoops Coaches International webinar on Wednesday. "As a result of the success we have had in the past years, 'di na kami last option. Nagiging first option pa nga."
Indeed, the floodgates once opened by Gomez de Liano brothers Javi and Juan is now wide open what with UP getting to recruit all of Bright Akhuetie, Kobe Paras, and Ricci Rivero as well as Joel Cagulangan and Malick Diouf.
ABS-CBN Sports even named the Fighting Maroons co-King of Recruiting for 2019 after a their heavyweight haul that included talented transferees Paras and Rivero.
In the same light, however, coach Bo said that recruitment remains to be a game played by the same select hands. "It's really getting out of hand," he answered when asked if the arms race in collegiate basketball is proving to be much too much.
He was quick to add, though, "I'm part of that also, alam ko naman."
The always amiable mentor has long said that perennial contenders such as Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University, and San Beda University have always had the first cracks at blue-chip recruits - and it was State U's goal to be at par with them.
Now they are, Coach Bo hopes that even more collegiate teams get to make noise in terms of recruitment for the betterment of the sport. "Sa akin, looking forward, dapat hindi lang yung well-funded teams ang magkaroon ng pagkakataon to recruit para magkaroon ng magandang competition," he said.
He then continued, "Importanteng magkaroon ng balance na everybody could compete in terms of recruitment, in terms of playing. That's how I think basketball will be better in our country."
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