De La Salle University head coach Derrick Pumaren admitted that their semifinals loss to University of the Philippines in UAAP Season 84 was a bitter pill to swallow.
But it propelled them to work harder as they gun for a huge comeback this coming season of the UAAP men's basketball.
"We lost that game to UP and up to now we still taste that bad loss," said Pumaren in an interview on Off the Record with Migs Bustos and Cesca Litton. "So the season started for us the following day of that loss to UP."
La Salle came close to returning to the finals that season, but the Green Archers suffered an endgame meltdown that led to their 78-74 defeat to the Fighting Maroons.
UP eventually went on to beat the Ateneo Blue Eagles in the finals and ended a title drought that lasted 36 years.
But Pumaren and the Green Archers chose to stay busy after that defeat, given the short turn around before this coming season.
"We've really been busy this off season. We've just joined preseason tournaments and we wrapped up 'yung preseason namin with a stint in Japan," he said.
"We just just finished a tune up and we go full blast for the UAAP."
Included to their busy off season was a PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup title win when they beat a Juan Gomez de Liaño-led Marinerong Pilipino squad in the finals.
Siblings Michael and Ben Phillips said they are excited to be plunging into action after all the preseason games they went through.
"It was a short break but it was very fruitful for us," said Pumaren. "We we're able to do what we're supposed to do for the upcoming season."