UP Fighting Maroons prepares for UAAP Season 83, eyes overseas training, tournaments

Kobe Paras

Kobe Paras

The University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons look to leverage on the remaining six months before the tip-off to Season 83 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines with scorching off season action. Bo Perasol, the team’s head coach for the fifth year, acknowledged that the off season is key to having a good run in the regular season as players hone their skills and build the all-important chemistry and camaraderie.

Perasol led the UP Maroons to back-to-back Final Four appearances in Seasons 81 and 82. He said, “Off-season training is going to be the baseline of how you will do in the regular season so whatever it is that you do in the off-season is going to dictate what your season is going to be.”

Thanks to staunch UP Men’s Basketball Team supporter JJ Atencio of STATS Performance Apparel, the Diliman-based squad has benefited greatly from training camps they have attended in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States and Serbia. UP’s consistent attendance in the skills honing, character building sessions the past two years has helped whip them into competitive shape the past two seasons.

“Training plays a vital part in preparing the players for the season,” Atencio said. “I personally targeted to come in and sponsor training abroad to help mold the mentality of the group. This is not only for their physical development but also for their mental fortitude; and for them to realize that there is much more to achieve if they set their mind properly.”

Atencio is also the CEO and chairman of Januarius Holdings Inc. Kobe Paras, Bright Akhuetie and Ricci Rivero have confirmed they will be back for the UP Maroons in UAAP Season 83.

“The countries we go to are usually places where basketball is big,” Perasol said. “The development there is way ahead of us so that is where we benefit from new technologies, new advancements, new ideas, new ways to train. Besides looking for training opportunities, we also look to compete in pocket tournaments here and abroad to give us different points of view, a different experience and different kinds of play.”

This time, the UP Maroons have their sights set on training in other countries. There is training scheduled in Auckland, New Zealand for a start but Perasol is open to other possibilities.

“The plans are already in place but they all depend on how fast this (Covid19) virus thing is going to go away,” Perasol explained. “We are going to train and play in Melbourne, Australia as well and we’re also supposed to go to Taiwan but we’re still on the lookout for more training opportunities that will make us experience a highly competitive tournament before the UAAP starts.”

Being the only public school in the UAAP, Perasol admits that UP does not have a big budget to fund the team’s training camps abroad. He said, “That’s why we’re really thankful that JJ Atencio.”

“Despite being an alumnus of the Ateneo de Manila University, (he) chose to help UP to the point of being known hereabouts as the UPMBT’s Training Dude,” Perasol said of Atencio. “He has been supporting and sponsoring the various activities and training camps of the UP Fighting Maroons since UAAP Season 80.”

For Atencio’s part, he looks forward to seeing a more mature and cohesive UPMBT on and off the court. He said, “I expect a team that wouldn’t succumb to the pressure and the unnecessary noise from outsiders, especially those coming from social media.”

Atencio has a wish for this team. He said he regards “a championship as the ultimate goal and to get there, it wouldn’t hurt if they take it one game at a time.”

The UP Fighting Maroons plan to take part in the Fil-Oil Pre-Season Tournament in May and defend their title in the upcoming BLIA Cup in Taiwan in July 2020. Meanwhile, here are some members of the team:

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