Bo Perasol is back where he belongs.
After months of negotiations, Perasol, 44, and the University of the Philippines men’s basketball team management finally came to terms on Monday, making him the new coach of the Fighting Maroons ahead of the UAAP Season 79 cage wars set on September.
The hiring of Perasol, a former Fighting Maroon himself who played in the UAAP from 1990-1994 before graduating with a degree in Mass Communications, was confirmed by UP assistant team manager Mel Macasaquit.
“We expect the higher level of training. He is hungry. He wants to win. It’s his passion for his alma mater that drives him to be here,” said Macasaquit in an SMS message. “He was singing the UP Naming Mahal last season. Now he’s back to where he belongs.”
Perasol will assume the coaching reins from former pro Rensy Bajar, who promised to lead the Fighting Maroons back to the Final Four last year but could only come up with a 3-11 mark, finishing tied with the Adamson Soaring Falcons at the tail-end of the eight-team field.
A former coach of defunct Powerade and Air21 in the pro ranks, Perasol is coming off a three-year stint with Ateneo, compiling a win-loss record of 27-17 including a pair of Final Four trips in 2014 and 2015.
Perasol will also be the fifth coach of the Fighting Maroons since 2011 after Bajar, Rey Madrid, Ricky Dandan and current NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez.
How his homecoming with the Fighting Maroons pans out will depend on how Perasol could squeeze the best from veterans Jett Manuel, Paul Desiderio, Diego Dario and comebacking Kyles Lao.
Expected to assist Perasol are current assistant coaches Joe Ward, Mo Gingerich and Poch Juinio, who all served the position to Bajar last year.
Perasol will have the initial glimpse of how tough is his latest task at hand on Wednesday when UP takes on Perpetual Help in the 2016 Filoil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Perasol’s official hiring was first reported by online sports portal spin.ph. – By Jerome Lagunzad
Follow this writer on Twitter: @JLFoxSports