This is the beginning of a new era, when UP Fighting Maroons undoubtedly secured its place among the elite colleges of the basketball collection
MANILA, Philippines – The sport is nice, but it can also be painfully hearty. Great Pat Riley once said: "There is a victory, and then there is misery." For fans who unconditionally supported their favorite teams, there are absolutely no mutual matches. Or you smile in the middle of the day after you accidentally recall the victorious moments that made you feel alive, or spend a few nights of light, thinking about what might be.
During the 81 season, fighting maroons were teasing. They showed the impression of an unambiguous size earlier in the men's basketball tournament, but they often flirted with a catastrophe, which led to the start of the record. Somewhere in between, things are clicked, and "16 strong" was born. UP played as a team that played in the turbulent support of their community and embarked on a historic round that led them to the legendary column of Smart Aranet on Wednesday, November 28, when a fate would be written.
The scene was beautiful. A half of the arena was painted with the colors of the Maroon fight, while the remaining space shaded Adamson blue. The energy was electric. The records before they left, UP pupil in his last years made a sign of the cross with his fingers, and then he bowed his head in prayer. How many generations of sufferings do you think has gone before you are at that moment – a chance to ask the gods of basketball to bring their beloved University to the Philippines in the UAAP finals?
This weekend, in front of thousands in the presence, and millions of people look more around the world, that's exactly where it will be. Totally UP, in the final, takes over the mighty Ateneo in what will be played as one of the most interesting duels in the rich sports history of this country. Yes, after 32 years of long and painful years, Maroons UP have returned to a great dance, the opportunity to take the throne not only for dreams but for real reality.
There is no mistake in this: the basketball gods had nothing to do with this. UP defeated Admens in the second regular time in the fourth quarter finals because they built Atin. Because Paul Desiderio is one of those. Because Bright Akhuetie deserves to be MVP. Because Juan Gomez De Liaño is sensational. Because Bo Perasol never stopped believing. Because their fans are irreplaceable.
"There was a time when we had already quit," Perasol said, "But if I told myself that if I can not believe in my team, who else will believe? That's why I just encouraged them and it happened."
Because the University of Philip says there is no heart.
If juices are dropped, Franz Pumaren and the company will not do it without fighting in their lives. Simply fit into game 1, the Adamson community was better represented at Big Dome in Game 2, getting used to every occasion. The names of the main trainer and player are printed in capital letters, with the hope of providing inspiration in dealing with accidents. The fans advocated the battery lamps of their mobile phones up to the point where the player had to ask them to cut them several times, but without success.
UP in the first half continued with 11, although Adamson returned. The Maroons then built a 16-point lead in the third quarter, but in tinting the eye, Growing Juices relieved him effortlessly. If the University of the Philippines wanted its place in history, Adamson was sure that they had to leave everything on the floor, which prompted Akhuetie to lie down on the bench of his team, and his head turned his towel down, healing, while Desiderio set off in the first minutes of the OT.
In the longest time, the Maroons fighters played the role of David against the goalkeers of their opponents, but against Adamson, they took opponents who played the role of the exterior they watched as well. Remember: those years were at the bottom of the league table, Adamson was there along with them, they are also wondering when their time will arrive. In that season, Maroons had one victory and, consequently, celebrated with a crescent, remember who they defeated?
When Pumaren came to change the team's culture, everyone knew that the better years were on the horizon. Falcons built their team around Jericho Ahamisia, Sean Manganti and Papi Sarr. Guys like Jerome Lastimos, who had a moment of outburst on Wednesday, Jonathan Espelet, Simon Camacho and many are recruited from the province for a former chance to play in the greatest stage of college basketball. Almost everyone in the team was looking for their lives. Give them a winning champion like Pumaren who still has a chip pad on his own shoulder and have an army that will lead you through a basketball war.
"Why not us?" They asked the whole season. Why not, actually?
Because of that, UP had to dig a little deeper to secure this triumph. Each quarter in the fourth quarter had the same size as a potential winner in the game. Each point was of great importance, but it was a struggle to achieve. The fans on both sides kept their breath on every little thing: loose balls, free throws, passes and jumps. The players leaned to catch their breath. They received text messages from the family and friends who made it out to the audience, to which they replied that they also felt the emotional stress of such a demanding game.
When the maroons needed another stop to start their celebration, Lastimosa replaced the ecstasy by striking the biggest blow you'll ever see from college on the season on the line. When Adamson filled 6 in an extra session, you could feel the vibrations in air change: tears were averted to turn into tears of sorrow in the crowd of UP; the fans who celebrated on their feet moved into unbelief; Wolves "On the Road to, UP!" they exchanged silent silence.
Then, slowly slowly, UP returned. Diego Dario, the product of UPIS and one of the older ones who preached "not today", hit the biggest jumper of his career. Juan and Bright have done what they do best. When Ahanmisi succumbed to injury, he set the perfect goal for Desiderio to take over.
In the biggest battles, when you hit, it's more important than you often do. The captain of UP went from 4 to 20 from the floor to what could have been his final appearance, but each of those recordings was a blow to Adamson's jaw. The last couple, when Desiderio turned a fierce, three-pointer and left the path to the fader, were deadly and defined in a career.
What an epic ride was for the guy who did this all. The journey he started many years ago for Desiderio when he decided to move from Cebu to Diliman finally came to a full circle. In the meantime, the upbeat UP star has faced criticism over its excessive shooting and the challenge of its conquerors to become fierce. In the end, he persuaded his best friend to join him in his mission. Improved his game through tireless elasticity. He began to trust his teammates. Then, at the perfect moment, he learned to be a hero who would save the day.
"It was not easy to travel, but everything is worth it," he said.
It is absolute, because victory is all coming out. From many months of preparation that could have been zero for a few seconds, innumerable parts of the body for ripening the ripening at dawn, to the emotional roller that dealt with the UAAP season, and knowing that you have the whole university in which you count, win everything It's ok.
On Wednesday, we all witnessed the greatest unforgettable victory of Fighting Maroons in the last three decades, as 16 boys came along with the goal of achieving something beyond their individual self.
We were witnesses of the moment that many UP boys will say one day to their grandchildren as they look at the best memories of their lives.
We watched the beginning of a new era, where UP Fighting Maroons undoubtedly secured its place among the elite of college basketball.
We had to see it all, because when there was a victory between victory or misery, the University of the Philippines fighting maroon will not break their hearts.
Welcome back to the finals, UP. It was too long.
The Battle of Katipunan is awaiting. – Rappler.com