ATENEO coach Bo Perasol was man enough to take the blame for the Blue Eagles’ awful start to their bid for a sixth straight UAAP men’s basketball championship.
Following the Blue Eagles’ sorry 74-83 loss to archrival La Salle on Sunday, Perasol said his players are accountable to him and he in in return is responsible for the performance of the team before the entire Ateneo community.
“When you go out there, I always tell them that it’s going to be (about) accountability. My players should be accountable to me. But the result of any game will always be my responsibility,” Perasol said after emerging from the Ateneo dugout shortly after the disappointing loss to the Archers.
Perasol has huge shoes to fill after taking over the coaching job from Norman Black, who returned to the PBA to call the shots for Talk ‘N Text after guiding the Blue Eagles to five consecutive championships.
The Blue Eagles now in an unfamiliar territory - at the bottom of the standings together with University of the Philippines (0-3) and one loss away from duplicating an 0-4 start. The last time that happened for the team was during the 1997 season.
Perasol was adamant his players lacked the energy during the pivotal third quarter stretch where the Eagles were outscored by the Archers, 31-16, letting a double-digit lead slip away.
While his players veered away from their game plan, Perasol added it was his job to lead Ateneo to victory.
“I’m not going away from that. I’m just telling (the players) because this is what we planned, and we didn’t follow that. You are accountable to me," he said.
“But as far as the people, the community, and the fans, I’m accountable to them so don’t worry about that,” the mild-mannered coach recalled telling his players.
He also recognizes that the Ateneo community is not used to losing basketball games in the UAAP.
“The way I see it, it’s an alarming start in as far as the standards of Ateneo is concerned. But I know what the team is made of. I know that we are going through a struggle. It’s just that I wasn’t able to tilt that. I told them that I’m accountable in tilting that capacity to win.
“Para bang nasa gitna ‘yung capability namin. It’s either we can lose to anybody or win against anybody. My responsibility is how we can tilt it in our favor,” Perasol added.
The Ateneo rookie coach said the team is still in good spirits despite the bad start as the Eagles believe they can still win even without injured star Kiefer Ravena.
“Klaro naman sa kanila. I just asked them that if you still believe that you can win, sabi nila na kaya pa. I’m hopeful that it’s going to change,” said Perasol.
“I still believe that even without Kiefer, we can win games.”
The Eagles take a welcome one-week break before facing the Adamson Falcons on July 14 at the Mall of Asia Arena.