THE first order of business for University of the Philippines head coach Bo Perasol is bringing back the excitement that has long been lost in the once proud community.
After the Fighting Maroons showed great grit and determination in their thrilling win over the UST Growling Tigers, that fire may be starting to grow again in Diliman.
Looking to become a legitimate threat to crash the semifinals party, an opening victory in a thriller was the perfect way to add fuel to that fire.
“More than anything else, parang ako personally, gusto kong maibalik 'yung passion nila, 'yung paniniwala nila sa programa,” said Perasol.
“Masyadong matagal nang bugbog, yung pagiging passive ng community sa kanilang basketball team.”
The excitement has actually been growing a few years ago, with the Maroons getting the most wins they’ve had in years in Season 79.
“More than the wins, more than the losses, I just wanted to get back the excitement, that every time they see their team, they want to cheer for that team no matter what happens,” Perasol added.
However, Perasol knows that living up to the expectations this season will be easier said than done. For one, they’ll be coming into the season as probably the shortest team in the tournament which was exposed by a lanky UST side in this game.
UP is also one of the youngest teams and the backcourt will have to work doubly hard, especially in their perimeter game.
“We're not going to be the biggest team out there. We need to get our chances outside. We are going to be, again, making those shots we need to practice those,” Perasol said,
“I think those are the shots that are going to be given to us. Outside shots. I hope that we could get points off transition, but I don't think in the long run, we're going to have that also.”