Coach Bo to UP MBT: Don't look down, be proud
MANILA, Philippines — Despite falling to the Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles at the championship round, there is no reason for the University of the Philippines Men’s Basketball Team to look down, said their coach Bo Perasol.
The Ateneo Blue Eagles are the UAAP Season 81’s champions after sweeping the best of three games against the Maroons on Wednesday night with a score of 99-81.
Despite a double-digit lead from the back-to-back champions, the UP crowd never faltered in cheering for their team, as can be heard in the televised game.
Shortly after the game, Perasol took his boys for a huddle and said: "I do not want you to look down. I want you to be proud for them.”
“They are proud of you,” the coach said, his voice rising above the deafening cheers of the crowd.
“The game is gone. The finals is gone, so you need to be proud of yourself,” he added.
Perasol said that “nobody” expected the team to reach the championship. He reminded the team that they have “changed so much” and “sacrificed so much.”
The Maroons had to win against Adamson Soaring Falcons who had a twice-to-beat advantage, before finally booking the championship ticket that has eluded the team for 32 years.
Perasol vowed that his team would be better. “I am so proud of you,” the coach added.
Captain Desiderio bids goodbye
Team Captain Paul Desiderio, whose “Atin ‘to” remark from the last season became the Maroons’ battle cry to the finals, also bid goodbye to the university on Wednesday.
Desiderio recalled how the team used to be the brunt of jokes. “I used to sit on the bench and watch my season go by winless. Loss after loss.”
UP MBT was winless in UAAP Season 76. The next season, the Maroons won one game.
“But I dreamt even before that in my last game with UP, the venue would be all maroon.”
“Today, my dream came true,” Desiderio said.
The UAAP Finals Game 2 brought in more than 23,000 in attendance at the Araneta Coliseum.
“My biggest trophy was not the championship, it was seeing this community as one. It’s not 16 strong anymore, it’s the whole community strong,” Desiderio said.
UP also had four other players who are ending their stint for collegiate basketball this season: Diego Dario, JJ Española, Jarrell Lim and Gelo Vito.
Dario said that it never crossed his mind that he would be ending his UAAP career in the finals. “Wouldn’t trade it for anything,” he said.
Lim, meanwhile, said that it was a “privilege and honor” to represent UP.
Vito is also ending his five-year ride “I wouldn’t have spent it any other way,” he added.
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