UNIVERSITY of the Philippines coach Bo Perasol looks to build on the momentum of a vastly improved season, but bit players need to take on bigger roles with the exit of three key personnel.
UP will no longer have Jett Manuel, Dave Moralde, and Henry Asilum, and the Maroons need Paul Desiderio, his fellow holdovers and possibly newcomers to take charge.
“I don’t think we are going to be the most talented team in the UAAP, but if we can be the most hardworking, the team that is not going to back down against anybody,” said Perasol.
“That’s the plan,” Perasol said, referring to the Final Four. “We are going to fight for that opportunity. We know we can compete.”
The Maroons made a serious run at the Final Four when they won four games in the second round, and seemed on track to make the semis for the first time since 1997, but their dismal 1-6 first round was too much to overcome.
Still, the performances have pumped life into the basketball program that has been at the bottom of the standings for several years.
And although the Maroons lost in the final game against University of the East in a respectable manner, Perasol hopes the Maroons can build on the gains of this season in the future.
“We hope to build on our momentum. That kind of game that we played against UE, never backing down, that’s the kind of game that we want to have as our identity,” said Perasol
Perasol is glad the Maroons exceeded expectations this season.
“It was really unexpected. I was joking during the press conference before the season that we are the darkhorse because no one believed that we are the darkhorse. In the course of the second round, I started to believe that it was true that we can win some more and barge in the Final Four. But it wasn’t meant to be.
“I hope we get the chance to get the Final Four next year. The expectations will be higher and that’s what we want to get for the community. We don’t want people to just laugh at us. We want them to get excited of our team and keep on building on our program."