MANILA, Philippines – The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons just won their first game in 4 tries at the expense of the National University (NU) Bulldogs, 73-57, last Friday, May 4, at the FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup in San Juan.
Team captain and Gilas Pilipinas cadet Paul Desiderio led the way against Jamike Jarin’s wards with a 14-point outing. Fellow cadet Juan Gomez de Liano chipped in 6 markers in the easy win.
However, just as the Maroons were starting to get their groove going after 3 straight defeats to open the tournament, they now find themselves on a collision course with the rest of the Gilas cadets, who have also just cracked the FilOil win column.
Because the home school has default rights over their athletes in the tournament, Gilas now loses both Desiderio and Gomez de Liano for tomorrow’s 7 p.m. matchup. And since Gilas has just started to win, their UP match couldn’t have arrived at a worse time.
Conversely, this is the perfect opportunity for the Maroons to strengthen their chemistry, since head coach Bo Perasol attributed their early losing streak to a lack of time together as a team.
But the 3rd-year UP tactician made it clear that he won’t clamp down on his stars if Gilas needs them.
“I cannot sacrifice their service to the country,” he said after the NU match. “It may affect [our chemistry], but we don’t think about that. It’s more important that they serve the country first.”
“It’s tiring for them, of course,” he added. “[Gilas] has a game, we have a game. We have a practice, they have a practice. But that’s how it is. If you’re going to serve your school and your country, it’s a privilege. But you have to prepare for that.”
Perasol only had a few requests to Gilas coach Jong Uichico regarding the handling of his players.
“My only request to him is sometimes, if we practice hard, don’t go hard on them [during Gilas practice], he said. “If [Gilas] practices hard, then let me know.”
Nevertheless, Perasol guaranteed Uichico that he’s free to borrow his stars anytime.
“If it’s an important game for them, I’ll lend them my players. Kahit dalawa pa (Even both of them)." – Rappler.com