MANILA, Philippines – As University of the Philippines (UP) coach Bo Perasol served his one-game suspension, all his players wanted was to notch a win for their beloved mentor.
But the Fighting Maroons paid the price for a slow start and eventually fell to the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws to absorb their second straight loss on Sunday, September 23.
"Nakakapanghinayang kasi wala si coach Bo. Ibibigay sana namin yung laro para sa kanya but yun nga yung result ng game," said team captain Paul Desiderio.
(It was a waste that coach Bo was absent. We wanted to offer the game to him but that was the result of the game.)
"Babawi na lang kami (We will bounce back)."
Perasol got slapped with a one-game ban after getting ejected in UP's previous game against defending champion Ateneo.
The Diliman-based squad allowed the Tamaraws to escape with an 8-0 start as the team also had lapses on the defensive end.
Javi Gomez de Liaño came off the bench in the first period to spark his teammates's offense as he drained three triples to rack up double digits at the half.
"We had a rough start so like our bench really needed to step up," said Gomez de Liaño, who paced the Maroons with 15 points.
"As a bench player, you’ll always have to be ready."
Even without Perasol to mentor them on the court, Gomez de Liaño still credits the team's efforts as they were able to stop the bleeding in the second half, but it was just a little too late as FEU had stretched the lead to 20 points.
"Well I think we really prepared enough for this game, and eventually we just didn’t play our best yet," added Gomez de Liaño.
The challenge, though, gets bigger for UP as it will face the undefeated Adamson Soaring Falcons on Wednesday, September 26, 4pm at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
But with Perasol's return, the Fighting Maroons hope to break their skid and send the San Marcelino-based squad to its first loss of the season. – 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.