UNIVERSITY of the Philippines coach Ricky Dandan remained positive about the Fighting Maroons’ progress despite coming so close to breaking their losing skid in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament.
The Maroons appeared ready to pull the rug from under University of the East Warriors Saturday but came up short in the final two minutes to lose, 57-62.
Despite finishing the first round of eliminations with a woeful 0-7 card, Dandan remained confident the Maroons will break out of their slide.
“Kanina, I told them that our learning curve was a big U,” Dandan said after emerging from the UP dugout. “We are at the bottom of that U. We have no way to go but up.”
“I’m confident na kahit nasa bottom kami ng learning curve, our learning should be going up… We are 0-7 but we need to keep going,” he added.
Turnovers marred UP’s final possession as nothing came out big when Henri Asilum failed to cross the half-court line stripe and Jason Ligad was called for stepping out of bounds as the Maroons were trying to set up for a game-tying basket in the final 10 seconds.
But Dandan refused to point out the inexperience of the team. In fact, he welcomed the experience.
“We had poor execution in the end. That’s part of the downward learning curve. But those are the things that I can’t teach. It is being taught on the floor. We need to experience that,” said Dandan.
Raul Soyud had 10 points, but Mo Gingerich (10 points) and JR Gallarza (10 points, 14 rebounds) were revelations in the game.
“Chris Ball was not 100 percent. It was tricky because Mo played good defense against (Roi) Sumang. Hindi ko sila puwedeng pagsabayin ni Chris. With JR, he plays with a lot of energy,” said Dandan.
The UP coach, however, pointed out the Maroons need to use what they have learned in the first round in order to get a victory.
“We need to learn fast. Ganoon talaga. That’s basketball for you,” said Dandan.