UP Fighting Maroons mid-season team building puts them back on track
MANILA, Philippines – The UP Fighting Maroons regained some of their zeal in a second round win over the Adamson Soaring Falcons Saturday, October 10, and they did it thanks to a mid-season team building.
While most teams go through such outings in the offseason, a 5-game skid on the heels of a promising 2-0 start pushed the Maroons to take drastic measures.
“The team and coaches talked about re-igniting our energy,” said head coach Rensy Bajar in Filipino, as his team stayed overnight at the Holiday Inn Friday, October 9 to try and find answers to their struggles.
“Throughout the week, almost 3 weeks, our emotions were really low. That tested us, those struggles, as a team. Not only me, but the coaching staff. Our emotions were all over the place and the coaching staff had to think of a way to overcome them.”
It worked the next day when the Maroons prevailed over the Falcons, 89-84, to finally overcome the slump to start the second round. But according to co-captain Jett Manuel, the team building did more than help them win.
“We can see our energy was different,” he said. “We re-composed ourselves as a team – with the coaching staff and players. I think that helped us come out with a whole new energy and a whole new mindset.”
Even Manuel benefitted as he snapped out of his offensive woes and scored 16 points on 5-of-9 field goals along with 8 rebounds against Adamson.
“It wasn’t easy for me personally but what’s more important is how we come out and got the win together,” he added. “I’m happy with the way we all played and we’re going to try and keep it up the rest of the season.”
That team building experience will undergo a true acid test Wednesday, October 14 when the Maroons take on the league-leading FEU Tamaraws in the day’s main event.
Against the offensive prowess of guys like Mac Belo, Mike Tolomia and Roger Pogoy, UP vows to relentlessly defend all game long.
“We’re very happy with our defensive effort. We talk about our defense every practice. We live and die with our defense,” said Bajar. “We will rely again on our defense (against FEU) then the offense will eventually come out.”
Currently 3-5 at 7th place, UP has a lot of catching up to do if it wants to accomplish its goal of a Final Four appearance. With time running out in UAAP Season 78, there’s no better time to get over the hump than right now.
“We’re forgetting about the first round but at the same time we’re learning from it,” remarked Manuel. “It’s going to be an exciting second round for us.” – Rappler.com
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