NOT even a deflating 88-79 loss to Ateneo in Game One of the UAAP Season 81 Finals can stop UP head coach Bo Perasol from believing that they can pull off an upset against the defending champions.
If anything, the result only pushed Perasol to go straight at the champions when they share the floor again on Wednesday.
"Very positive ako. That's the truth. I mean before this series, iniisip mo 'paano ba tayo bubugbugin nito.' Ngayon ang paniniwala nila na we need to try and find out kung anong magagawa namin," said Perasol.
"That shows we can compete against the defending champions if we put our minds into it if we keep on doing what we have done this season," he added.
The Fighting Maroons were definitely in it.
It wasn't until the waning minutes of the fourth quarter when the Blue Eagles finally broke the game wide open, as a Matt Nieto led 12-1 run to put the game beyond reach.
It certainly gave Perasol more confidence in his team and he won't get tired reminding that to his players.
"I keep on reminding them that going into this finals series is not an accident. They did it themselves. Baka isipin nila mirakulo pero they did it. Di yun nangyari lang," said Perasol.
For Perasol, it's all about putting themselves in a favorable position to steal the fame in the end.
The moment they're there, who knows, they might just pull off that upset.
"We need to have that experience of how it is to win it. Before kung wala kaming experience against Adamson, third quarter palang bumigay na kami.. Nagkaron kami ng experience, umabot kami ng fourth but now we have to finish it off," said Perasol.
"I keep on telling them it's the Finals, parang you cannot give them a chance and yung mga ganun. It's just mindset. When we do it we have to do it all the way. Up to the end to give us a chance sa dulo. I can always remind them that we did it against Adamson."