Instead of ending the first round of the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball tournament on a positive note, UP found itself scrambling for form after receiving a sound beating from a rookie-laden UST on Wednesday.
The Tigers knocked the wind out of their foes at the Mall of Asia Arena in an 86-72 victory, but it would have been more embarrassing for UP had they not made a valiant effort to cut down their foes in the fourth period.
Thankfully, a 26-10 quarter made the loss a bit more respectable.
“UST deserved the win. We deserved to lose the game. We were totally outhustled, outplayed. I didn’t see in there something that was us,” coach Bo Perasol told media after the stinging loss.
Perasol later admitted that after languishing in the bottom of the league for so long, his team has yet to get used to the fact that they’re a winning team and that they need to have the mentality of one.
And for him, winning teams don’t get distracted by wins and losses.
“That’s why we’re trying to grow our way towards this. Parang nangangapa kami. Kaya sabi ko we cannot let wins be distractions, and we cannot losses be distractions. Kasi for a team that’s not used to this, those things are happening. When we win, it becomes a distraction. When we lose, it becomes a distraction also,” he explained.
But winning entails working together, and Perasol noted the fact that UP has still hasn’t showed that they can overcome any opposition as a united front.
“I just feel don’t have that single mindset, that single-mindedness. ‘Yung buo na kayo na alam mo we can go through this together,” he said.
“They know that they have to do it together, but we’re still trying to figure out how we can do that on both ends. Sayang eh, we all know we have what it takes. Alam nila, alam ko rin na kaya naming lumaban. Probably it’s just part of learning adversity together, but we need to hurry up,” Perasol added.
The good news is that UP has seven more games to recover, and they’ll start their second round run on October 14 against Ateneo.
And even after an underwhelming first round, Perasol is still optimistic.
“We just have to climb back again. I still think we have the time, I think we can recover. It’s really up to us. We have to pick ourselves together,” he said.
“I still believe that we can do this.”