UP not in a hurry to show strength

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    MAROONED for now? That’s just fine for University of the Philippines.

    With the health perils and uncertainties posed by the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, Fighting Maroons coach Bo Perasol maintained his charges can wait before offering a peek of their strength boosted by an impressive recruitment haul.

    “Yes, definitely. It’s a valid concern for us (seven-month break). However, it’s also a concern to almost all school programs. We just have to make adjustments whenever training will be allowed,” Perasol told Malaya-Business Insight yesterday.

    “There is no doubt in our minds what’s most important at this time— the safety and protection of our team,” he added.

    UP is expected to bank on the likes of star forward Kobe Paras, former MVP Bright Akhuetie, and high-flying wingman Ricci Rivero, but former Nazareth School of National University standouts Carl Tamayo and Gerry Abadiano, La Salle Greenhills gunner RC Calimag, Xavier’s Miguel Tan, Fil-Am guard Sam Dowd, Fil-Canadians Alonso Tan and Anton Eusebio, and Fil-Australian Ethan Kirkness are also eligible to suit up as rookies for UP in the 83rd UAAP basketball tournament.

    How will the Maroons play as one cohesive unit remains a big question mark for Perasol but said they will just cross the bridge when they get there.

    “The team is dependent on the guidelines set by our school administration. At this time, we are not yet allowed to conduct team trainings,” said Perasol.

    “The players are individually provided with personalized workout programs.”

    UP reached the Final Four for the second straight season as No. 2 with a 9-5 record in the last UAAP cage wars but lost to eventual runner-up University of Santo Tomas in their stepladder semifinals duel.

    The Commission on Higher Education last Thursday bared the draft of its guidelines for the collegiate league teams return to training in an online public consultation, where stay-in training inside the school premises is highly encouraged.