WATCH: No less than a championship for loaded UP Fighting Maroons

MANILA, Philippines – Coming off an unexpected UAAP Season 81 Finals run, the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons are finally tagged as favorites to win this season's title. 

It was a long wait, but the Fighting Maroons reinforced their arsenal with amateur standouts Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero to form an all-star lineup that can contend for the title held by the Ateneo Blue Eagles in the last two seasons. 

However, the hype comes with a lot of criticism on how the team's talented roster will deliver in a game. 

Juan Gomez de Liaño, the Season 79 Rookie of the Year, even runs down the doubts thrown at the team: "Our team’s overhyped, we’re not going to get along, it’s too much talent in one team, it’s like an all-star team so how are we going to jell together, how are we going to blend together and just build chemistry together." 

The team, though, thinks otherwise. "I think from my point of view, we’ve been doing a good job and just trying to get team chemistry," said De Liaño. 

With veterans like the Gomez de Liaño brothers Juan and Javi, Jun Manzo and Season 81 Most Valuable Player Bright Akhuetie returning this season, the Maroons are out to show they're as formidable as billed. – 



Beatrice Go

More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.