There’s something about one’s school that remains within him even if he’s graduated from it after several decades.
Take for example Yeng Guiao, who now coaches the Philippine men’s national basketball team.
Guiao played collegiate basketball for University of the Philippines from 1977 to 1980 and what he saw from the current crop of Fighting Maroons in Game 1 of the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball finals against Ateneo was enough for him to give the team praise.
Even though UP lost 88-79 against the Blue Eagles, who are the league’s defending champions, Guiao said the Fighting Maroons are already winners in his book especially with how they fought in their first finals series since 1986.
“UP’s already a winner at this point and whatever happens the team’s overachieved already,” said Guiao Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena before Gilas Pilipinas’ practice for their game against Iran in the Fiba World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
UP ended the eliminations of Season 81 with an 8-6 record for the third spot, ending its schedule on a three-game winning streak, and beat second seed Adamson University (10-4) twice to enter the championship round.
The Fighting Maroons are already virtual underdogs against the Blue Eagles who own nine UAAP titles and were the Philippines’ representatives in the Jones Cup that pit them against several national teams from Chinese-Taipei, South Korea, and Japan.
Ateneo also faced the secondary teams of Iran and Japan.
“Of course Ateneo’s the favored team but the way UP has been playing, its desire has been very high, and coach Bo [Perasol] is doing an excellent job because all the players are motivated and they know all their roles,” said Guiao.
“They’re not intimidated and with that kind of attitude, and with that kind of team you always have a chance,” said Guiao. “The objective there is to just stay close and maybe you’ll get a chance at the end.”
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