UNIVERSITY of the Philippines president Danilo Concepcion believes the Fighting Maroons will win a UAAP men’s basketball title during his watch.
Concepcion made the pronouncement on Tuesday during the signing of the memorandum of understanding between UP and 3M Philippines, which will be the main backer of the men’s basketball team this season.
“Eto ang aking paniniwala. During my term, the UP basketball team will become champion,” said Concepcion, whose six-year term will finish in 2023.
After years of futility, UP is out to become a title contender again with the entry of top recruits like in Juan Gomez de Liano, Javi Gomez de Liano, Bright Akhutie, Will Gozum, and recently, Ricci Rivero.
Concepcion believes that the entry of several supporters brightens UP's chance at winning its first UAAP men’s basketball crown since Benjie Paras, Ronnie Magsanoc, Eric Altamirano, and head coach Joe Lipa led the Fighting Maroons to the 1986 title.
UP's lone championship came during the late Sen. Edgardo Angara's term as UP president.
“You came at the right time,” Concepcion told officials of 3M Philippines" Kailangang kailangan po namin ng suporta na mga naniniwala sa amin.”
“Dito po sa UP, wala kaming maio-offer sa aming mga manlalaro kundi ang pangalan ng UP, na sila ay magkaka-diploma sa UP, magkakaroon sila ng UP education, at sila ay magiging alumnus ng UP. Wala po kaming maio-offer sa kanila na suweldo, signing privilege, signing bonus, wala po kami niyan. Galing at dangal, ‘yun lamang po ang maihahandog namin sa kanila,” said Concepcion.
In addition to the entry of 3M Philippines, Concepcion bared that Senator Chiz Escudero, an alumnus, is helpin in the construction of an air-conditioned practice facility for the team to the tune of P50 million.
Concepcion added Cavite governor Johnvic Remulla, also a UP alumnus, has donated equipment for the team’s weight training.
“I’m so happy because some alumni have also contributed. Magagamit na ‘yung weights donated by Gov. Johnvic Remulla. Bubuksan na ‘yung bagong practice court doon sa Epsilon Chi. Kinausap ko na sila and you will have priority in the use of the facility.
“Magpapagawa na rin tayo for a new practice gym that will replace the small practice gym na ginagamit ninyo. ‘Yung bagong gym, hindi na mainit na parang pugon kaya kapag naglalaro kayo sa MOA o sa Araneta, medyo giniginaw kayo doon. Eto, airconditioned na ito, may facilities, may dugot sa basement, may locker rooms, shower rooms, and meeting rooms.
“Dito tamang tama ang lighting nito kaya pagdating sa MOA, hindi na kayo masisilaw kasi sanay na kayo. Maganda at pantay ang court na ito kaya okay ang talbog ng bola, tamang tama para masanay na kayo as pinaglalaruan ninyo. We are finalizing the plan for the new gym,” Concepcion said.
Concepcion said UP is also studying the possibility of providing allowances to the team.
“I’ve requested to make a study sapagkat hindi naman kayo nakikinabang na sa free tuition privilege dahil libre na talaga, baka naman puwede kayo mabigyan ng maliit na monthly allowance. Of course, I want to note the financial impact on our budget. If the financial impact can be absorbed, then the monthly allowance shall be paid but don’t expect a big one,” said Concepcion.
“But at least, enough maybe for your transportation expense, a little allowance for entertainment, but don’t expect a big one,” he added.
Concepcion told the players how huge a UAAP title will be for the school and for themselves.
“Kapag nag-champion kayo during my term, lahat kayo ay magiging living legends,” said Concepcion.