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Perasol admits this will be his final year with Ateneo

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The Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles fell to a 4-4 slate to open their second round campaign in the 78th season of the UAAP Men’s Basketball tournament.

After ending the first round with a loss against bitter rivals De La Salle University, calls for the release of head coach Bo Perasol have been rampant in the Ateneo circles.

Early Sunday afternoon, the Blue Eagles entered a two-game funk against the FEU Tamaraws in a hard-nosed game. The loss sent the Blue Eagles to the fourth spot of the standings.

After meeting with Ateneo officials last Monday, Perasol disclosed that this will be his final year with the Blue Eagles whatever happens. “This is my final year. I already told them that this is going to be my last year, regardless (of what happens),” he said.

Perasol was named the head coach of the Ateneo Blue Eagles two seasons ago after Norman Black returned to the PBA. Perasol’s contract was for three years and started during the 76th season of the UAAP.

In his first season with the team, the Blue Eagles compiled a record of 7-7, good for fifth place as they lost a do-or-die game against the UST Growling Tigers. During that season, Ravena sustained an injury that made the then-third year guard miss the start of the season.

During their UAAP Season 77 campaign, the Blue Eagles surprised a lot of pundits in finishing the elimination round with an 11-3 record that gave them the top seed in the Final Four. However, the Katipunan cagers were eliminated by the eventual champions, the National University Bulldogs, even when they had a twice-to-beat advantage.

Moreover, Perasol added that he has had offers from other basketball clubs but did not respond to their calls due to his obligations with the Ateneo. “Ang mga offers ko ay from outside but I don’t talk to them kasi meron akong obligasyon dito,” he said. “The mere fact na pinaglaban ako ng management to continue this, I’m really bent on doing something on this team and I’m really sure we still have the time to do that.”

Team captains Kiefer Ravena and Von Pessumal already know about this according to the third year coach and vowed that they will duke it out the rest of the way. “Alam nila lahat yan this is my last year. My team knows that, my players know that, kaya this is our last hurrah together, with Kiefer, with Von. Napagusapan na namin lahat yan. I don’t think that’s going to be something that needs to be talked about, we all understand that already.”

Perasol also remarked that any head coach would receive the same criticism as he had during his three-year stint with the team.“Sa pinanggalingan ko sa PBA, ganun naman lagi e. I always serve the best interest ng management at ng school. Knowing Ateneo, Ateneo hates to lose. I’m in the middle of that,” he admittied. “Natural lang yun na mapupunta sa akin [ang blame] because I am the leader, they can’t pinpoint anybody. That’s going to happen whoever leads this team, I really don’t take that personally.”

According to an Ateneo official, Perasol had a hard time transitioning to the college game as Perasol always took the brunt of the losses while receiving little praise for the victories.

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