DESPITE its crushing 63-89 defeat to Ateneo last Sunday, all is not lost for University of the Philippines in the 82nd UAAP basketball tournament, according to coach Bo Perasol.
With a crowd of 19,861 watching at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, the Maroons played without Perasol starting at the 6:23 mark of the third quarter, ejected after he charged referee Jaime Rivano Jr., ready to rumble over what he said was a non-call on Ateneo’s Angelo Kouame who had challenged UP backup center Jerson Prado’s inside attempt.
An ejection merits an automatic one-game suspension. As of press time yesterday, UAAP Commissioner Jensen Ilagan said his office will review the video to see if further sanctions will be imposed.
In a lengthy letter released to the UP community yesterday, Perasol said their defeat, their second in seven games, should galvanize the Maroons in their bid to win their first title after 33 long and weary years. The victory, its seventh straight, cemented two-time champion Ateneo’s hold on the solo lead.
“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,” Perasol said.
The Maroons advanced to the finals for the first time in 32 years but wound up as runners-up to the Eagles last season. They are expected to challenge the Blue Eagles for the title anew this season.
“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.”