THE feeling of euphoria is over for University of the Philippines after making school history, and the Fighting Maroons are back to work as they gear up for the Adamson Falcons in their return to the semis after 21 years.
For Paul Desiderio, it’s back to reality.
The Maroons’ beloved two-guard isn’t only fighting to push his school deep into the UAAP Season 81, he’s also looking to extend his remaining days in the league.
Since last Wednesday against La Salle, Desiderio knew that a loss will also put an end to his days with the Fighting Maroons and that’s something that motivates him even further as they take on the Falcons.
“Medyo nakakalungkot kumbaga, pero nasa isip ko lang na hindi ako papayag na yun ang last game ko sa Saturday na hindi kami lalaban,” said Desiderio.
The challenge for Desiderio and his squad is keeping the hunger alive after being on cloud nine just a couple of days ago by towing their school back to the semis after more than two decades of absence.
While that’s certainly a nice feat to achieve, Desiderio knows that there’s an even larger objective at play.
“Nung kahapon (Thursday) sobrang saya although ngayon nagstart na kami magprepare sa Adamson. Kumbaga locked-in na kasi may chance pa kami makapasok ng finals so iga-grab namin,” Desiderio said.
“Personally, may 24-hour rule nga na magcelebrate, pero after nun preparation agad e. Andun yung masama na moment pero binabalik ko parin, may business pa kami na dapat tapusin,” he added.
The 5-foot-11 guard out of Cebu said that he’s leading by example in order to show his younger teammates that there really is no time to celebrate yet. After all, everything starts with the veterans in practice.
“Nagsstart yan sa practice. Dapat makita nila ako na same lang din, laging all out, kugn ano ipakita ko sa laro gagawin ko sa practice para magaya ko nila. Magsstart ako sa practice, di ako magrerelax at magaallout ako,” he added.
After once making a name of himself for his famous ‘Atin to!’ line which resulted into a game winner last year, Desiderio isn’t all about making claims this time around.
One thing he vows though is that they’ll keep fighting until the very end.
“Hindi naman natin masabi pero gagawin namin yung best namin para makuha namin to.”