MANILA, Philippines – For University of the Philippines (UP) coach Bo Perasol, the Fighting Maroons' 21-point rout at the hands of Ateneo de Manila University was a "rude awakening," especially after their winning start in UAAP Season 80.
The glow from UP's cardiac 74-73 win over University of Santo Tomas (UST) last Sunday was shattered by the Blue Eagles, which systematically took down the Fighting Maroons on Wednesday at the Big Dome.
"That was a rude awakening," Perasol said frankly after the game, which saw UP's top scorer, Paul Desiderio, score nine points on 18 shots.
The UP coach was well aware of Ateneo's capabilities; he had watched as the Blue Eagles routed Adamson University on opening weekend, and branded them as "formidable." Yet the Fighting Maroons were still unable to keep up, and the Ateneo players were repeatedly able to waltz into the lane, or break away for open three-pointers.
"We got out of focus noong naging mabilis eh," Perasol explained. "Nagkasunod-sunod na."
"We got out-rebounded, out-scored in the paint. Nakakawala ng momentum ba, and it's not as if we were well-matched up. In order for us to be able to have a chance against a team like Ateneo, kailagan kami 'yung aggressor," he added.
"Ang nangyari, kami 'yung naghihintay."
Though it was obviously a disappointing result for UP, Perasol still sees some positives. For instance, he noted that rookie Juan Gomez de Liaño was a "bright spot," as he scored 16 points on top of seven rebounds, two assists, and three steals.
Moreover, Perasol pointed out that a 1-1 record is far better than 0-2. They have a chance to further improve on that slate on Sunday, when they face off against University of the East (UE). Thus, the sooner they move on from the loss to Ateneo, the better.
"We move on kaagad," said the coach. "Kailangan putulin kaagad."
Indeed, Perasol said that he immediately told his players that they cannot dwell on the defeat.
"You need to make sure they understand that we played lousily, and we paid for it," Perasol said. "There's nothing really to it – we lost badly, but it happens."
"We move on to Sunday," he added. "We have to have a better game."
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