RICCI Rivero and Kobe Paras are set to make their debut for University of the Philippines, but coach Bo Perasol is concerned if there is enough time, and opportunities, for the two bluechip recruits to blend in.
"Four months pa lang silang magkakasama and kulang na kulang kami sa laro. Yun ang kailangan namin dahil nakikita ko na kulang na kulang pa kami sa cohesion," said the Maroons coach.
Perasol has made the two a part of the Maroons teams as they toured the country playing tuneup games in Dumaguete, Los Banos, and Iloilo, to name a few.
"Kahit saan, sinasabak namin itong mga ito," he said.
But Perasol knows it will be an entirely different ball game for Rivero and Paras when they join the rest of the Fighting Maroons in the 2019 Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup, starting on May 5.
There's no question on what the duo can bring to the table. Rivero is a former UAAP Mythical Team member during his time at La Salle while Paras has had stints in the US NCAA and with the national team.
However, Perasol warns that with the depth the Maroons now possess, there's a tendency for the team to rely on talent more than the system.
"Wala namang question sa dalawa because we know the talent ni Ricci at Kobe, but sometimes nagiging hindrance sa amin yun because we rely too much on our talent," he said.
"We have to find yung cohesion na yun, na we have to know how to play like a team, execute our system, para hindi kami sabog-sabog."
Aside from the two, vital cogs from UP's runner-up finish last season will still be on hand led by UAAP MVP Bright Akhuetie, brothers Juan and Javi Gomez De Liano, and playmaker Jun Manzo.
"Yes, we have the talent," said Perasol. "But the question is do we have the cohesion? Do we have the chemistry? Those things are what you need when you face the stronger teams."