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MANILA, Philippines – After a heartbreaking campaign punctuated by back-to-back losses in the UAAP Season 86 finals, the UP Fighting Maroons have a clear hole left on the offensive end.
With the exit of top two scorers CJ Cansino and Malick Diouf along with JD Cagulangan’s final-year decision still up in the air, the pressure is on Gerry Abadiano to make a leap towards a bigger role in Season 87.
“It’s a huge boost to be consistent,” Abadiano told Rappler on what should be the focal point of his offseason.
Abadiano averaged 6.9 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game in Season 86. He started in 12 games for the Fighting Maroons, the third most starts among UP players.
Known for his scoring prowess, the 22-year-old Abadiano had an up-and-down season, scoring double-digits only four times, including a season-high 22-point outing in the second round versus the Ateneo Blue Eagles.
Abadiano was scoreless in three games and only posted scant 3-point and 2-point nights in Games 2 and 3 of the finals, respectively, as the Maroons bowed to the La Salle Green Archers.
Falling short of the last two UAAP titles, the UP guard sees consistency along with conditioning as the key to bounce back in Season 87.
“Last season, detail by detail, it was well thought out,” Abadiano said. “But for me, conditioning is something we need to work on.”
“Whenever we are consistent, we never fold or get overwhelmed,” he added. “In a game, if we are consistent, we put ourselves in the best position to win.”
The former NU Bullpups standout vowed to put in the work to fill the offensive void left by his graduating teammates.
“I will work out, improve conditioning, and improve my skills,” said Abadiano, who will enter his fourth year with the Fighting Maroons in Season 87.
Earlier this year, the Fighting Maroons also saw one of its prized recruits, Jared Bahay, turn back on his commitment to UP as he is set to suit up for the Fighting Maroons’ Katipunan rival Ateneo.
Former San Beda high school star Chris Hubilla also de-committed from the Fighting Maroons to play for the Letran Knights in the NCAA, further hurting UP’s guard depth. – Rappler.com