MANILA, Philippines – Ateneo deputy coach Sandy Arespacochaga experienced first hand how the University of the Philippines' raucous fans boosted the Fighting Maroons' bid to upset the No. 2 Adamson Falcons in the UAAP Final Four.
So the Blue Eagles are bracing to face an even more excited UP crowd when the defending champions and the Maroons kick off the best-of-three championship series on Saturday, December 1, at 3:30 pm at the Mall of Asia Arena.
But Arespacochaga, who was doing his scouting duties during the UP-Adamson overtime semis thriller, hopes the fans of the blue and white will come through for the historic "Battle of Katipunan."
"It will be nice to have the students, the faculty, staff and alumni from Ateneo to watch the game, not just because we need the support, but it would be nice for them to experience the games first-hand," said Arespacochaga.
"When you’re live, you are actually part of the game, so it’s different – every cheer and every applause could be felt and heard by the team so it would be a great experience for people to watch games."
The Fighting Maroons have been riding on high emotions – fueled by the thundering cheers resonating from a sea of maroon in the gallery – during the Final Four games where the underdogs overcame the twice-to-beat advantage of No. 2 Adamson to book a best-of-three Finals series against Ateneo.
"We were half enjoying it and half trying to work and scout," said Arespacochaga, noting how the crowd played a key role in the thrilling do-or-die game last Wednesday, November 28.
Although the Blue Eagles went undefeated in the second round and finished off the Far Eastern University Tamaraws in one semis game, they expect the Maroons to put up a solid fight.
"We have to make sure that we don’t back down physically," said Arespacochaga. – Rappler.com
More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.