Perasol rues 'immense weaknesses' as Ateneo schools UP
MANILA, Philippines – The UP Fighting Maroons looked anything but a second-seeded team against the two-time defending champion Ateneo Blue Eagles.
Seemingly not learning from their previous 63-89 beatdown against the champs in the first round, the Maroons again faltered after the 1st quarter and got destroyed, 64-86, in the rematch to end the UAAP elimination round last Wednesday, October 30.
The double demolition prompted head coach Bo Perasol to admit that his wards just look too far behind when compared to the ruthless consistency of Ateneo basketball.
“We saw our immense weaknesses,” he said after the game. “Again, it's important that we have to feel the reality. Like what I said, Ateneo is a cut above the rest. We cannot compare ourselves with them as of right now, but we need to check – how do we perform against the stronger teams? Whoever wins between UST and FEU is going to be the stronger team.”
Despite the sorry loss to end the eliminations, the No. 2 Maroons still marched on to the Final Four with a 9-5 record – their best slate in 22 years – for their first-ever twice-to-beat advantage.
Ateneo, though, jumped straight to the Finals after a 14-0 sweep of the elimination round, leaving the Maroons to battle it out in the stepladder semifinals, where they need to get past FEU or UST. (LOOK: UAAP Season 82 stepladder semifinals)
“It's not just UP who plays bad against Ateneo," said Perasol. “Everybody plays bad against Ateneo except UST, that was a very good game, or probably FEU. But in that 14 games that everybody played against Ateneo, I'd say 80%, they just outplayed everybody.”
The Maroons will now intently watch the clash-of-styles knockout match between the game-grinding FEU Tamaraws and the trigger-happy UST Growling Tigers on Wednesday, November 6 as the stepladder semifinals kick off. (SCHEDULE: UAAP Season 82 men’s basketball semis, finals)
“I told them that we have to honor our position by preparing really hard because while it is true that we are in the position we’re in, it's not a sure thing that we're going to the Finals," said Perasol. "Again, as I said, whoever wins that playoff game is going to be a very strong team.”
“We never won against UST, and we're 1-1 against FEU, so it's going to be really tough for us. We need to prepare hard for that.” – Rappler.com