UAAP: Plenty of lessons for UP in loss to Ateneo, says coach

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 28 2022 03:23 PM | Updated as of Nov 28 2022 04:52 PM

 The Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) Blue Eagles and University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons battle during the second round of the UAAP season 85 men's basketball in Quezon City on November 26, 2022. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News
The Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) Blue Eagles and University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons battle during the second round of the UAAP season 85 men's basketball in Quezon City on November 26, 2022. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines -- Their loss to Ateneo de Manila University in their final elimination round game of UAAP Season 85 should be a valuable experience for the University of the Philippines (UP), head coach Goldwin Monteverde said.

The Fighting Maroons erased an early deficit but couldn't complete their comeback in the final quarter, instead falling to a 75-67 loss against their Katipunan rivals last Saturday.

The result dropped the defending champions to 11-3 to close out their elimination round campaign. They are still assured of a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final 4, although their seeding will hinge on the result of Ateneo's game against Adamson University on Wednesday.

Regardless of where they end up, Monteverde said the Maroons must be quick to move forward and learn from their performance against the Blue Eagles. He had no complaints about his players' efforts against Ateneo, but acknowledged that his team had its shortcomings. 

"'Yung game today, paggising namin bukas, tapos na 'yan," said Monteverde, whose team will enter the Final 4 having lost two of their last three assignments.

"What's important now is to look forward dun sa darating na game, kung sino mang makalaban namin sa Final 4. Since Day 1, first game namin, every game, talagang tinitignan namin, what to… I've been very consistent naman, on what to work on," he added.

"Definitely, tonight, marami kaming matututunan as a team. Importante, maging ready kami sa Final 4."

The lessons extend not just to their execution but also to their composure and poise on the floor. Among the pivotal moments of the game was a technical foul called on Henry Galinato in the third quarter; the Blue Eagles would go on a run from there to take control of the contest. 

"I'm sure Henry knows naman na what to adjust on sa ganoong sitwasyon. Especially, sa mga ganitong klaseng games, siyempre, 'yung mga emotion, andiyan din," said Monteverde, as Galinato was sanctioned for pushing Ateneo's Dave Ildefonso in a dead-ball situation. 

"We always remind each other naman habang tumatakbo 'yung game, how to face things," the UP coach said. "I'm sure, mas magiging ready kami next time."

Also of concern for UP is the low production of Malick Diouf and Zav Lucero. Diouf, a contender for Most Valuable Player honors, was limited to seven points and seven rebounds while struggling with foul trouble. Lucero, meanwhile, went 0-of-11 from the field in a 22-minute stint.

Monteverde has no doubt that both players will recover.

"Things like these, it happens. Importante naman, ano maging reaksyon namin, response namin after that," he said. "Knowing Zavier, definitely, he's not gonna quit. I'm sure he's gonna fight naman talaga hanggang matapos 'tong season."

"Knowing this team din, we've always taken 'yung mga ganitong klaseng game and improved from it and come back a better team," he assured.

The Fighting Maroons will be watching closely when Ateneo and Adamson face off on Wednesday. 

A win by Ateneo will put UP at No. 2 and into a Final 4 showdown against No. 3 seed National University. 

If Ateneo loses, however, the Maroons will take the No. 1 seed in the semifinals where they will play Adamson. 

UAAP Season 85 is streaming on iWantTFC every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, available for Premium users outside the Philippines.