MANILA, Philippines – Ateneo head coach Bo Perasol tempered the euphoria felt by fans of the Blue Eagles following their surprise 97-86 victory over archrivals De La Salle Green Archers in the UAAP Season 77 men's basketball tournament last Sunday.
The Blue Eagles were the clear underdogs against the defending champions, but behind a career performance from Kiefer Ravena, Von Pessumal and former Archer Alfonso Gotladera, they pulled the rug out from under La Salle and sent their rivals to a second straight defeat.
Yet Perasol, who had repeatedly downplayed Ateneo's chances ahead of the game, said the victory was just that – one win.
"When I go back to the dugout, my emphasis would be that this is just another win," said Perasol. "This is not times two, this is not times three wins. This is one win off our slate."
"Hindi naman ito nag 4-0. This is a 2-0 slate," he emphasized.
Perasol admitted that as a non-Atenean, he does not fully grasp the rivalry between Ateneo and La Salle. But he also understands why the community is proud of the team for their victory.
"Siyempre hindi naman ako Atenista, hindi ko alam 'yung side story ng La Salle at Ateneo. But I know that they're very proud ngayon na panalo sila," he said. "But for me, as a coach and as a non-Atenean, it's just one win for me. Sa kanila, malaking bagay iyon."
What Perasol is hoping for is to see his players perform the way that they did on a consistent basis -- and not just during rivalry games.
"Kung mailalabas ko lang lagi 'yun, 'yung ganoong pakiramdam nila kapag La Salle-Ateneo, maganda ang resulta palagi," he said.
Perasol also conceded that his team may have "caught La Salle in a bad game." "Medyo hindi naging maganda 'yung shooting nila," he noted.
Ravena, who scored 29 points against the Archers, backed up his coaches' words, saying that it was too early in the season to make judgments of any teams.
"Malayo pa talaga," he said. "There are a lot of things that can happen this season, so we have to take it a game at a time."