MANILA, Philippines—There were no excuses by University of the Philippines after another huge defeat to Katipunan neighbor Ateneo de Manila University in UAAP Season 82 men's basketball.
UP coach Bo Perasol kept his cool this time around, and the game — the last of the elimination round — finished with no incident. The Blue Eagles once again flaunted their depth and skill in defeating the Fighting Maroons, 86-64.
It marked the second time in Season 82 that the defending champions dominated UP, last year's runner-up. The Blue Eagles won their two games against UP by an average margin of 24 points; UP shot a combined 35% in those contests.
"Well, I don't want to make excuses about it. The point is, we really got outplayed," said Perasol after the game.
"Ateneo kasi is a cut above the rest. We cannot compare ourselves with them as of right now."
Still, Perasol said he sees some positives. He correctly pointed out that it is not just UP that struggles against Ateneo, a team that has an average winning margin of over 17 points per game this season.
"It's not just UP who plays bad against Ateneo," he said. "Everybody plays bad against Ateneo, period."
The coach noted that University of Santo Tomas lost a close one to Ateneo in the first round, and Far Eastern University gave them a tough challenge in the second round. "But if you count the 14 games that everybody played against Ateneo, I'd say 80%, they just outplayed everybody," he added.
Moreover, the loss had no impact on their standing in the Final 4. UP had already clinched the second seed — and a twice-to-beat advantage — thanks to their slim victory over De La Salle University last Sunday.
"We're just fortunate that even if we're lacking a lot, at least No. 2 pa rin, 'di ba?" said Perasol.
"I was telling them, I couldn't just imagine if we had lost against La Salle, what could have been the situation right now."
Had UP lost to La Salle, it would have found itself in a four-way tie with FEU, UST, and La Salle. The Maroons would have had the lowest quotient, meaning they would have to play a knockout game just to qualify for the final 4.
"Imagine how big that was, that win against La Salle," said Perasol. "That was just a blessing for us."
For Perasol, what's important for UP is to quickly brush off its latest loss to the Blue Eagles, and instead focus on the road the Fighting Maroons have to take to the Finals. No. 3 FEU and No. 4 UST play on November 6, with the winner advancing to take on the Maroons on November 10.
"We have to honor our position by preparing really hard. Because, while it is true na nandyan kami sa position na yan, it's not a sure thing that we're going to the Finals," the coach pointed out.
"Whoever wins that playoff game is going to be a very strong team. We never won against UST, and we are 1-1 against FEU, so it's going to be really tough for us. We need to prepare hard for that."
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