Due to Bo Perasol’s suspension, Ricky Dandan once again had the task of manning the sidelines for the University of the Philippines against the FEU Tamaraws.
But the contest did not start as he expected.
Down by 53-69 with just six minutes to go in the game, the Fighting Maroons retaliated in impressive fashion. They leveled the ballgame at 69-69 thanks to a Javi Gomez De Liano lay-up with seconds left on the game clock.
Alas, it still wasn’t meant to be. FEU found a way to seal the 82-79 victory in overtime, much to the disappointment of UP gallery.
This is UP’s third loss this season, but Dandan was still happy with what he saw from his boys.
“That’s why I’m proud of them.
“That’s their potential that showed. We were down what, sixteen or seventeen points? And they made a run, made a game out of it. They could have just easily given up — they could have easily done that, but no. They chose to fight and make the game out of it, they forced overtime. And it was just breaks of the game (that cost us) in overtime,” he shared.
Despite the outcome, the performance was a welcome respite after how the Fighting Maroons folded to the Ateneo Blue Eagles in the last game of their first round run. They may have been down, but unlike the latest edition of the Battle of Katipunan, here they made a valiant stand.
“I must say that in the overtime, it was anybody’s ball game already. We made lapses on both ends of the floor but that’s due to the stress already. Maybe a few breaks that could have gone our way, we could have taken advantage, but we were unable to,” he explained.
“But like I said, I’m very proud of our guys. They could have easily given up. So that’s what we emphasized in the dugout, ‘You guys did not give up. We made a game out of it and forced overtime.’ We were down seventeen. I’m very proud of that.”
In the end, a loss is still a loss no matter how well a team plays. All eight teams in the league are in the business end of the season as they fight to claim one of those four precious Final Four spots. Only wins will do this time around.
“We can’t be satisfied. We’re in the middle of the tournament already. We didn’t get the win, so we’ll go back to the drawing board and prepare very hard for UE.”