IF the hellish schedule of the University of the Philippines was a test on how they’ll fare against the big teams in the UAAP Season 81, then they might have failed badly.
Luckily for the Fighting Maroons, they have more than half of a season to make up for those missing grades.
Blowout losses at the hands of Ateneo and Far Eastern University, and a late game meltdown against Adamson have put a question mark on the Fighting Maroons’ legitimacy as contenders this season.
Head coach Bo Perasol knows that and the only way that they can erase that is to start winning against those heavyweights.
“If we are very serious about our goals this season, we need to (win against them),” said Perasol.
“The natural thing that's going to happen there is that one or two of them is going to be taken away from the Top 4, and we have to be there. And for that to happen, we need to beat one or two of them. So we have to be better than what we had shown,” he added.
It has been a tough past two weeks for the Fighting Maroons, with the losses starting to get in their heads for a bit during practices.
Star big man Bright Akhuetie admitted that it’s been tough but what’s important is that they’ve already bounced back with a 67-61 win over La Salle on Sunday.
“It was really really bad, really messed up, we go to practice ,you see everybody moody and stuff, so we talked to ourselves, we can’t just lose like that, we’re all tired of losing so we have to come back at it,” said Akhuetie.
Perasol said that sometimes it’s their own willingness to live up to their lofty billings that has led to even more blunders in the past few games.
But it’s still a long season and Perasol knows that they’ll have all the time to work on their craft.
“We're dead serious about what we want to happen, to improve in our standing. But life happens. And sometimes, you can't just microwave growth eh,” said Perasol.
“We need to grow through losing, we need to grow in a painful way. But in the end, if we get that, we have to be wiser and we have to be better in the end of this season.”