collegiate basketball

UP Maroons thrive amid hectic offseason run

Naveen Ganglani
UP Maroons thrive amid hectic offseason run

NO LETUP. Carl Tamayo and the UP Maroons continue to dominate in the offseason.

The UP Maroons clearly don’t mind juggling three tournaments as they gear up for their UAAP title defense

MANILA Philippines – Despite the team’s string of consecutive playing dates, University of the Philippines men’s basketball program director Bo Perasol isn’t concerned by the Maroons’ heavy workload. 

“I think the objective is more of giving an opportunity for those who played less last season,” Perasol told Rappler as the Maroons juggle three tournaments in the buildup for their UAAP title defense.

The 50-year-old former UP head coach said the Maroons – who have been dominant in their offseason run – also aim to give more playing time to players like RC Calimag, Gerry Abadiano, CJ Catapusan, and newbies like Aldous Torculas, Reyland Torres, and Henry Galinato.

Still bannered by UAAP Rookie of the Year and Mythical Five member Carl Tamayo, the Maroons have primarily competed in the FilOil EcoOil Preseason Cup, UCBL, and Pinoy Liga Cup. 

They also had a pair of games during a recent trip to Iloilo and have had tune-up contests. 

So far, UP already played a total of 15 games from July 19 to August 7. Twice, the Maroons even played two games in one day.

Had their Pinoy Liga matchup against San Beda on August 6 not been cancelled due to inclement weather, it would have also marked six games in five days for the Fighting Maroons, and a stretch of seven straight games in six days.

But the lack of rest days doesn’t seem to affect the defending UAAP champions, who had a 12-1 start throughout the three leagues with an average winning margin of 23 points per contest. 

Some UP supporters on social media, though, have raised concern on the stacked schedule, noting the lack of recovery in between games could lead to injuries before the UAAP Season 85 opening in October.

But Perasol said the team  isn’t worried.

“Not at all. If coach Gold (Monteverde) is not concerned, I am not, too,” he said.

Perasol also confirmed that the UP student-athletes haven’t complained about the extensive workload. 

“I don’t think that as players they will complain about the days or its frequency. They will actually complain if they’re not playing,” he said

It works well for State U that they have a deep pool of recruits and holdovers who can alternate between games, including those expected to play in Season 85 and beyond. Former National University Bulldogs Reyland Torres and Ernest Felicilda, for example, have suited up mostly in the UCBL.

Galinato, UP’s new bruising presence in the paint, and Zavier Lucero, a Mythical Five member last season, only recently started playing. Ditto for reigning Finals MVP Malick Diouf.

Their combined abilities were highlighted during UP’s dominant FilOil victories this week against CSB and EAC. The only player still missing from offseason action is 3-and-D specialist James Spencer.

Mainstays such as Carl Tamayo – who also had national team duty – Harold Alarcon, JD Cagulangan, and Terrence Fortea have played for most of the preseason games, which included a recent scuffle against JRU.

“I think no one is playing beyond 25 minutes,” said Perasol, noting they’re monitoring their players to avoid ailments.

Given their solid performances thus far, it figures that UP’s offseason workload will remain active throughout August. –

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