ADAMSON coach Kenneth Duremdes was quick to play down the hype surrounding the Falcons highly-awaited UAAP men’s basketball game against fellow cellar-dweller University of the Philippines on Saturday.
And he can only hope his players won’t get carried away as the teams gun for their win of the season at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Falcons-Maroons tussle has gained a lot of interest as the losses piled up for the two league minnows. Fans from both schools have even started talking about the match as a ‘championship game.’
Loser of 27 games in a row including six this season, UP is even planning to hold a bonfire party at the school’s Sunken Garden if the Maroons finally chalk up a victory at the end of their first round campaign.
Duremdes, however, hopes the Falcons will not lose focus as they try to arrest their own 0-5 slide against the Maroons in their match-up set at 2 p.m.
“Medyo inaabangan ng lahat ‘yun. Kung ano man ‘yung hype na ‘yun, huwag lang kaming mawala sa focus,” Duremdes said.
The former PBA great said he is trying his best to tone down the significance of the game to his players, telling them to treat it like any other match.
“Sabi ko nga sa kanila, it’s not Adamson vs. UP naman eh. This is the UAAP. Wala namang rivalry (between the two teams). Nangyari lang talaga na walang panalo. ‘Yung preparation namin is not for UP. Pumasok tayo sa tournament na lahat ng teams kalaban natin, hindi lang UP,” said Duremdes.
The Adamson coach reminded his players that the game against UP is just one of the matches Adamson will play in order to improve not just this year, but in future seasons.
“Ito ‘yung consequence of rebuilding a team. Most likely, ‘yung result, mag-su-suffer talaga. Sino ba ang may gusto ng walang panalo? Pero ang importante sa amin ‘yung growth and improvement. Doon kami nag-i-invest,” said Duremdes.
The Falcons are coming off a 67-48 loss to De La Salle on Saturday, a small improvement to their record loss to National University two weeks earlier where they scored just 25 points.
But the biggest challenge for the Falcons is not physical but mental in nature, says their coach.
“More on mental na eh,” Duremdes said. “I think we are better than 25 points. Papayag ba tayo na sabihin ng tao na hindi tayo marunong mag-basketball?”