The head coaches and players from both teams share their thoughts on UP’s 97-67 win over DLSU in Game 1 of the UAAP men’s basketball finals.
The University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons are one game away from winning another UAAP Men’s Basketball Championship after an emphatic 97-67 win over the De La Salle University Green Archers in Game 1 of the finals series.
Given the strength that both teams displayed throughout the elimination rounds in Season 86, few might have expected this outcome — a 30-point deficit. In fact, this marked the largest margin of victory in a finals game since 1998. Ironically, it was La Salle who routed FEU by 25 points in Season 61.
Indeed, it was a Game 1 result that few might have seen coming. Here’s how members from both teams reacted after the lopsided UAAP finals match.
UP: Not celebrating just yet
Despite the huge victory that puts them in the driver’s seat coming into Game 2 of this UAAP season’s finals series, the UP Fighting Maroons have made it a point to express that they will not be celebrating until they lift the trophy. Here’s what they had to say.
Head Coach Goldwin Monteverde: “Yung team really na-execute nila yung game a while ago and defense was really great. We just have to sustain and know that the finals will not be won by one game — it’s a series, so we just have to know what we have to work on and be ready for the next game.
We’re really aware kung ano yung capabilities ng La Salle, so we really had to dig deep sa loob namin going into this game na talagang, ibibigay namin ang lahat.
Mamaya, papanoorin namin yung game, and as I said, we’re going to work on what needs to be worked on…Even from a win, I’m sure may mga lapses na hindi namin na pansin, so ‘dun namin ilalagay yung focus namin.”
Harold Alarcon: “Hindi pa ito yung pwede masaya. Parang, hindi pa tapos yung laban and after nito, magfocus lang sa next game. [On what the team plans to do to win the series]: Pagtiwalaan lang yung game plan na ginagawa ng coaching staff, kasi makikita naman yung result ‘pag sinusunod namin yung sinasabi nila.”
Francis Lopez: “Our mindset is it’s just another game. We were just happy we got the win. We really fought hard for this one, we’ve been practicing for so long, we’re glad that we got the outcome that we want but like I said before, our mission is to get two wins, now we got the first win, we just got one more win.”
DLSU: Getting ready to bounce back
The Green Archers are coming into Game 2 with their backs against the wall — they need a win to force a do-or-die Game 3. It will not be easy after this heavy defeat, however, the members of the team are maintaining their togetherness as a squad and preparing for the next match. Here are their words of reflection after the first game.
Head Coach Topex Robinson: “UP just showed us why they are the number one team in the UAAP right now, so at this point, we cannot look for other excuses other than to really bounce back come Sunday.
“Obviously, it really hurt everybody. But we really have to go through this. Winning a championship is not gonna be easy and taking the easy route will give us this kind of result. We have to go back to trying to figure out how to get our guys in a better situation to succeed and again, it’s done and over with. It really tasted sour. There’s going to be a lot of great minds telling us what to do, but at the end of the day, we stick together as a group, whatever happens, we’re gonna win together, we’re gonna lose together.
“There’s no time for us to really cry over spilled milk. If this is one of the worst records of a loss in the finals, we could also do something about it. We play Sunday, we know what championship basketball is all about, and we know what it takes and we just have to really be prepared for that and make preparations for our game on Sunday.”
Michael Phillips: “We got punched in the mouth today. We can’t let this break us… Yung streak namin, it started from a loss. So we’re gonna try to do the same thing as much as we can. We have to give credit to UP, they played a great game… They wanted it, they wanted it more than us, so that’s something that we can really take as motivation and of course, everyone hates this taste. Ayoko talaga itong lasang ito, lalo na kapag La Salle-UP, pero ‘yun, Sunday naman.“
With two teams heading into an important Game 2, each with different mindsets, motivations, and moods, which team will come out on top after UAAP Season 86’s finals series?
Images from UAAP Media.