NEWLY-INSTALLED University of the Philippines head coach Rey Madrid couldn’t ask for more from the Fighting Maroons in his first game at the helm.
The Maroons fell once again to De La Salle, 63-85, on Saturday to remain winless nine games into Season 76 of the UAAP men’s basketball tournament. Still, Madrid felt satisfied with their play especially with him taking over the team less than a week after replacing Ricky Dandan.
“Wala na akong hihingiin pa, the way they responded today,” said the 48-year-old Madrid, who is in his second stint as UP head coach. “The score doesn’t reflect how much hardwork they put in the court.”
The Maroons were leading, 42-35, at the half behind a sizzling 47 percent shooting from the field. Unfortunately, the Diliman-based squad could not sustain the lead especially after its big men went into foul trouble.
“It was a good feeling that we did play a good first half. But nagkaroon kami ng breakdown sa second half because we are grappling on straw especially sa big guys, four fouls, four fouls.
“Eventually, nag-graduate na rin two of my bigs (Raul Soyud and Andrew Harris). In a way, hindi namin ma-control what they are trying to do to us,” said the UP mentor.
Madrid, who coached UP from 1989 to 1994, said there will be very little changes to the team squad in terms of plays on both offense and defense.
“I’m using the same patterns, same line-up, same substitution, same positions. It’s just a matter of tweaking lang,” said Madrid.
UP cager Sam Marata admitted the team is still in its adjustment stage despite the `little changes.’
“Adjusting pa rin kami pero we are getting better. Nag-struggle lang kasi kami dahil hindi pa kami nag-fo-flow,” said Marata.
Madrid, who had coached now-Ateneo mentor Bo Perasol and even Marata’s father Sam during his first stint at UP, believes they can still win with five games remaining in the season.
“I always wake up believing that I can win every game, so that is my attitude. I want to impart that to them. Given a chance to win, they should take it,” said Madrid.