The University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons surprised fans last season by barging into the UAAP men's basketball finals four years after finishing the tournament with just one win.
And soon, their inspiring rise will be chronicled in a book.
Sports columnist Naveen Ganglani, who has extensively covered the Fighting Maroons and the UAAP since 2009, will be coming up with the new book which will provide an in-depth look into the events leading to the humble beginnings of Nowhere to go but UP (NTGBU), a group of UP alumni volunteers who dared to believe that they could reinvigorate UP's resource-challenged sports programs.
"I’m incredibly lucky and grateful to the members of Nowhere to go but UP group who have given me the opportunity to tell this amazing story," said Ganglani.
An alumnus of De La Salle University who roots for his Alma Mater’s Green Archers, Ganglani nonetheless acknowledged that "the rise of the Fighting Maroons in the past five years leading up to their trip to the UAAP Finals is nothing short of phenomenal."
"As an outsider looking in, I hope to convey how the story of a rival school is incredibly inspiring, even to those who do not bleed maroon. I hope to do justice to their story by writing an accurate, comprehensive, well-researched book that will answer many questions about the rise of the Maroons," said Ganglani.
Aside from covering the UAAP, Ganglani has also written features and done on-camera reports on the NBA, PBA, FIBA, Philippine Superliga, and many other leagues.
He also has his own web sports show – Beyond the Sport w/ Navs – and runs a printing business in Manila with his family.
For Ganglani, writing this book on the UP Fighting Maroons’ incredible rise will be the most important project of his career.
“As a sports journalist, my ultimate goal is to write a story that can inspire others to rise above themselves, which is what the Fighting Maroons did the last five years with help from the dedicated and passionate UP community. Chronicling that special journey, one that was filled with many unforgettable memories, will be the perfect way to do so,” said Ganglani.
The book, which will be published by the NTGBU, will include exclusive interviews with UP’s coaching staff and players, as well as key alumni from the UP community who helped augment the state university's athletic programs.
According to NTGBU Chairperson and UP Maroons Manager Atty. Agaton Uvero, "the goal really is to produce a tome that will be enjoyed not only by UP alumni and fans of the Fighting Maroons, but also by those who are looking for motivation to strive for something bigger."
UP Maroons coach Bo Perasol echoed Uvero's sentiments, stressing that "the story of the Maroons is still being written as we speak."
"It's a very interesting story, and we hope that it will inspire those who face enormous challenges in the pursuit of their ambitions. Nakakaiyak, nakakatawa, nakaka-inspire. Which is why I and the rest or the team are really excited about this project," said Perasol.