Unanswered questions loom over the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons after losing their Finals rematch against the Ateneo de Manila (ADMU) Blue Eagles, 63-89, in the UAAP Season 82 men’s basketball tournament, today, at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
The Battle of Katipunan delivered on its advertised intensity, with one turning point being Head Coach Bo Perasol’s ejection at the third quarter’s 6:23 mark, following an unfavourable no-call.
After Perasol’s ejection, the Fighting Maroons failed to pick up the pace as Ateneo continued to lead until the final buzzer.
Despite the loss, there were bright spots for UP. Kobe Paras still led the team in scoring with 15 points, despite only converting a fourth of his shots. Javi Gomez de Liano also added 14 of his own, converting nearly 85% of his shots.
Along with this, UP had a sticky first half where the Maroons led by as much as six points. The Diliman squad managed to keep it close, with six different lead changes in a half that ended with UP trailing by only four points, 31-35.
The loss now keeps the Maroons at 5-2, the second-best record in the UAAP —hanging only on Ateneo’s heels.
The result also brings back questions about UP’s chances against Ateneo. However, Janjan Jaboneta assures the Iskolar fanbase that all concerns will be appeased.
“As you can see, during the first and second quarter, andun na kami,” said Jaboneta. “Kailangan lang namin ma-continue para mabalik naming yung talo ng Ateneo. But as a team, I know we can win.”
Jaboneta also assured the Maroon faithful that the Perasol ejection only made the team fight harder.
“Hindi naman sadya, pero at least pinaglaban kami ni Coach Bo. At dun naming naisip na kailangan din namin siya ipaglaban,” he added.
The UP Fighting Maroons face their first challenge of the second round against the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws on October 6, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
QUARTER SCORES: 21-15, 31-35, 46-61, 63-89