MANILA, Philippines – Other UAAP teams would do well to take the University of the Philippines (UP) seriously in their remaining games of the Season 77 men's basketball tournament, Far Eastern University assistant coach Eric Gonzales warned.
The Tamaraws nearly became the victims of the Maroons' upset axe on Saturday, as UP took a 69-68 lead with two minutes left only to be outscored 7-0 the rest of the way.
Gonzales, who took charge of the team with head coach Nash Racela in Spain due to national team duties, admitted that he was far from satisfied with how his players performed.
"I kept on reminding the players, eto ang nakakatakot na game, kapag kalaban natin ang UP, Adamson," said Gonzales.
"From Day 1, ang napansin namin ni Coach Nash, talagang napa-inconsistent namin. 'Pag mahina kalaban, 'yung mga players namin talagang nagre-relax. 'Pag kalaban mo mga La Salle, sa mga big games, sila kahit hindi mo i-motivate, magpapakamatay eh," he added.
But Gonzales also said he "salutes" UP, as the Maroons are consistently improving and should not be underestimated.
"Akala ng lahat ang UP ay mahina," he said. "Lahat ng kakalabanin niyan sa susunod, maniwala kayo, puro dikit 'yan. Kailangan respetuhin 'yan."
"Pag 'di ni-respeto 'yan… player din 'yan eh. May pag-lalagyan 'yung kakalabanin niyan," Gonzales warned.
UP has lost four straight games since its breakthrough victory against Adamson at the end of the first round.
They have three games left on their schedule – Ateneo, National University, and Adamson.