ATENEO coach Bo Perasol doesn’t see the Blue Eagles as championship contenders just yet even as the young team embarks on a month-long training abroad this week in preparation for Season 77 of the UAAP.
Despite recruiting some of the best high school players in the country, Perasol said the team faces a challenging year for the coming season, although he sees the Blue Eagles being ripe for the UAAP title in three years time.
“Malaking challenge ito dahil puro bata,” said Perasol, the former Powerade coach in the PBA who is entering his second season as Ateneo coach. “Magaling sila pero puro youngsters.”
“In fact, I think three years from now, hinog na sila. Pero this season, malalamangan sila ng experience.”
The Eagles are bound for the United States to undergo a three-week annual training at the Joe Abunassar Camp in Las Vegas and a pocket tournament in Japan.
The yearly training makes up for what has been a relatively quiet preseason for the Eagles, who declined to compete in the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup and other preseason tournaments.
Still, the Eagles are tagged by experts as one of the contenders in the coming UAAP season after missing last year’s Final Four for the first time since winning five straight championships.
Perasol made it clear the Eagles will definitely go for the UAAP title this season once the opportunity presents itself. But the priority for Ateneo this season is development, he added.
“As far as trying to aspire for the championship, it will always be there. Ilalaban namin ‘yun if it presents itself. But again, ang importante sa amin is to gather everybody first,” said Perasol.
Kiefer Ravena and Chris Newsome are the notable holdovers of the Blue Eagles, who obtained some of the best high school cagers in town including Thirdy Ravena and Arvin Tolentino.