UNIVERSITY of the Philippines coach Bo Perasol was proud with the effort of the Maroons after giving unbeaten Ateneo a scare on Wednesday in the UAAP Season 80 basketball wars.
The Maroons led by as many as 12 points over the Blue Eagles in their Wednesday’s match at the Big Dome, but State U turned cold late and fell to Ateneo, 96-82, to succumb to their eighth loss in 13 matches.
Despite the loss, Perasol was happy with UP’s play, although it was also proof that in order for the Maroons to go deeper into the season, they must close out games.
“I can say that I’m very proud of the guys. Their confidence and their desire to get back, and that’s what I wanted. The lesson there is in order to get ahead, we need to beat the best teams. If we have to beat the best teams, we have to beat them in the endgame. And that’s where we failed in the end,” said Perasol.
Even with the defeat, the Maroons are still in contention for a Final Four as they go up against National University on Saturday. However, UP hopes for a win, and a loss by Far Eastern University on Saturday against Adamson in order to force a playoff for the No. 4.
The mere fact that UP is still in the discussion for a Final Four berth makes Perasol satisfied with how the team has grown.
“Sabi ko nga, tanong ko nga sa kanila, kailan ba kami nagka-playoffs sa Final Four. Palagay ko hindi pa for the longest time,” said Perasol.
Still, Perasol recognizes the need for more weapons for UP, adding that Ateneo’s depth showed when Isaac Go hitting two crucial threes in the fourth quarter to gain headway over UP.
“That’s a mark of a very good team especially in the end. Their composure was there. It’s not just composure but the depth. As I was telling the team, it hurt us that Go made two three-point shots in the end… I have to give it to Ateneo. They were very good and composed,” Perasol said.
Ahead of the Maroons’ final match of the eliminations, Perasol hopes UP does its business when the Maroons face another Final Four seeking squad in NU.
“What’s in our hands would be to have a victory against NU. It’s not going to help us if we are going to lose. Again, we have to find a way to keep that energy going and make sure na manalo muna kami because it doesn’t mean that even if we win, we have a chance,” said Perasol.