By Jerome Lagunzad
When University of the Philippines pulled off what initially seemed as an improbable against defending champion La Salle last week, there was no bonfire or street party inside the Diliman campus.
Maybe just high-fives and warm hugs.
After all, the Fighting Maroons are getting accustomed to winning again following a long dry spell. And they are yearning for more.
“Mataas ang ambisyon namin that’s why we cannot stay in this situation,” admitted UP coach Bo Perasol, perhaps reminding his charges to stay on their toes ahead of another crucial clash against Far Eastern University today at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Fighting Maroons hogged the headlines following a 98-87 stunner over the favored Green Archers – their first in their head-to-head matchup in two years – last weekend and boosted their status as one of this season’s top title contenders.
Perasol himself also claimed his eighth overall victory since he took over the UP coaching reins last year, already surpassing the combined seven-win output of his predecessors – Aboy Castro, Boyet Fernandez, Ricky Dandan, Rey Madrid and Rensy Bajar – in a span of 77 matches in six years.
But the Fighting Maroons, according to Perasol, should not be caught too much with the hype.
“Malaking bagay ang panalo namin (against La Salle) if we can manage well this kind of mindset. Ang importante makuha namin gains,” he said. “This cannot be a step backwards if you tend to relax about parang ‘pag too emotional ka nawawala ‘yung pagiging sharp mo.”
That sharpness was also shown by the Tamaraws in their last two victories, something that pleased first-year coach Olsen Racela no end.