After finishing the first round of the UAAP men’s basketball tournament with its best record in the Final Four era, UP Men’s Basketball Team Coach Bo Perasol has a message for the UP community: let’s fight as one for the UP Fighting Maroons. 

In an open letter released a day after he was ejected in an emotional game against defending champions Ateneo, Perasol said that it is time everyone in the UP community realizes “that we all, players or supporters, should pick up the pieces when we lose and not beat each other up to pieces when we do not come out victorious.”

“We all, players or supporters, should pick up the pieces when we lose and not beat each other up to pieces when we do not come out victorious.” 

“We have to be behind each other, come what may, through thick or thin, rather than be at each other’s throat when we lose by one point or by 26 points.”

Perasol, who has guided UP to a 5-2 record in the first round, emphasized that “the season is not lost just because we lost our last game.”

“Definitely, we are not yet done with Season 82 due to my ejection over what I view as both poor and biased officiating. I paid the price for my reaction by not being able to coach the rest of the game. I do need to do better when confronted with a similar situation,” said the homegrown coach.

According to Perasol, “the greater challenge now is for me, the players and everyone in the UP community to rise above what happened.”

“The greater challenge now is for me, the players and everyone in the UP community to rise above what happened.”

“We have to take the last game as a wake up call, something that should spring us back to life and to the reality that much work needs to be done. The focus should not be on one incident, one play, one non-call or one game, but rather, all our eyes should be on the prize,” added Perasol.

“It’s about time that we all realize the fact that the UP Men’s Basketball Team will never be champions simply because we are all cheering for them, praising them for the wins, but bashing them to no end for not beating their opponents.”

UP now sits in second place as it enters the second round of the tournament. The Maroons had hoped to finish the first round with a win over an unbeaten Ateneo squad, and looked like they were on their way to an upset with a spirited first quarter that saw them lead 21-15 afer the first ten minutes. 

Ateneo would then regain its footing, taking a four point lead at halftime, which grew after Ateneo tightened the screws and questionable officiating threw the Maroons off their game and led to Perasol angrily confronting referee Jaime Rivano after what he believed was an unwarranted technical foul called on UP center Bright Akhuetie.

Perasol acknowledged that the outburst, which led to his subsequent ejection from the game, was costly—and said that he accepted that he would be held accountable if UP failed to win only its second championship in 33 years. 

“Should this not happen and if i fall terribly short, then, and only then, that you can blame it on me and the buck stops at me,” Perasol said. 
As for his ejection, Perasol pointed out that “there are those who are unconditionally behind me as coach regarding my behavior during the UP-Ateneo game and many who are cursing me to high heavens for my fighting stance, to the point that I ended up being ejected.”

“I don’t blame them. Truth to tell, though, more than any true-blooded Isko or Iska, I as coach expect so much from this present lineup. I am, as coach, in charge of what the players will ever become at the end of the season, as champions or mere contenders with nothing to show for despite the huge build up we made,” said the mentor. 

“Indeed, to the players, marquee or not, go all the praises when we win, and every time we lose its all my fault as the coach. I accept that with all humility, together with all the harsh words that go with every defeat that we suffer.”

Perasol ended his open letter with fighting words, saying he intends “to lead the entire UP Men’s Basketball Team to victory in Season 82.”

“It is my sacred duty, not only as a coach, but a proud Iskolar ng Bayan, to keep on fighting up to the very end of the season till the prize is won and the championship trophy is lifted for all Iskos and Iskas to bask on for the greater glory of the one and only Unibersidad ng Pilipinas.”

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