By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
NO longer the perennial whipping boys at the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP), the UP Fighting Maroons are aware of the need to have things sustained for now and the future so as not to let their efforts go to waste.
Speaking at the Power & Play radio program of former Philippine Basketball Association commissioner Noli Eala last Saturday, University of the Philippines men’s basketball coach Bo Perasol shared that he is happy to see their vision of having State U be competitive anew at the UAAP steadily bearing fruit and that he hopes they get to stay the course.
“The renewed basketball program of UP started five years ago. Prior to that there was not really a solid program to speak of. At the onset what we were talking about is how to have a sustainable program, which extends up to this day now that we are doing well,” said Mr. Perasol, who is the coach of the Fighting Maroons since 2016.
“We wanted to emulate what others were doing, like Ateneo, La Salle and FEU (Far Eastern University) which are not personality-based. Meaning, let’s say a particular coach leaves, the program continues. It was [not the case] for UP in years past. We’re just trying to make it sustainable and for the team not to revert to the days when it cannot win games. Instead we want to give ourselves a chance to compete at a high level each season,” he added.
The coach, who also played for UP in college, went on to say that the formation and the coming on board of nowhere to go but UP Foundation, Inc. have done wonders to the school’s sports programs, paving the way for the school to be considered by potential recruits as a destination to showcase their wares.
“This system we are having in UP is a very unique model. We are a public school with very little funding, if at all, for our varsity teams. What we did in the last few seasons is get as a model what Ateneo and La Salle were doing where their funding comes mostly from their alumni. But what we did differently was institutionalize the sponsorship,” Mr. Perasol said.
“Nowhere to go but UP is a pioneering group of people who just want to help UP. Through it we are assured that we stay with one program to follow and it’s not going to be different people or groups supporting each time,” he added.
Given the situation they are in right now as an organization, Mr. Perasol said he believes that they are in firm position to compete but was quick to say that work has to be put in to be in a better position to make everything fall into place.
“I’m excited for the season (Season 83) whenever it will start. I think we can compete and it’s very reassuring that we have new blood in our fold now,” he said.
UP has been busy in the offseason, welcoming new players in preparation for the future when their current stalwarts move on.
Recently the Fighting Maroons secured commitments from “super juniors” Carl Tamayo and Gerry Abadiano from the Nazareth School of National University, who Mr. Perasol is very high on.
“They (Tamayo and Abadiano) have the experience, championship experience. We were able to play against them and their bodies are ready for the seniors. But of course they have to continue working to fulfil their potential,” the UP coach said of their latest recruits.
Apart from Tamayo and Abadiano, UP also now has Xavier School’s Miguel Tan, Fil-Canadians Alonso Tan and Anton Eusebio, Fil-Australian center Ethan Kirkness, Fil-Am guard Sam Dowd, and Gilas Youth cadet RC Calimag as well as transferees Joel Cagulangan and Malick Diouf.
The last two UAAP seasons have an eventful one for the Diliman-based school, barging into the finals after a three-decade absence in Season 81 and last year making it to the Final Four for the second straight season.