Every year the story for UP has been the same. This year could be different. They’re better this year. They might just win some games.
After the first six games of the UAAP season, the Fighting Maroons still can’t get their game to go. It took the De La Salle University Green Archers one quarter to put UP away in yesterday. It took the defending champions 10 minutes to convince UP they had absolutely no shot at winning.
After the Archers went on a run, the Maroons took long shot after long shot. They refused to fight for rebounds. And their point guards were their in their usual “I, me, mine” state of mind. Reigning Rookie of the Year Kyles Lao was the only player working for them, yet they couldn’t seem to run a proper play to free him up.
Yet if you listen to the UP coaching staff after the game, they lost because it was hard to win without their head coach. They didn’t say much about absolute lack of game preparation against La Salle. They didn’t say jack about their inability to get rebounds, nothing about their insistence of defending Jeron Teng one-on-one after he owned all of the defenders who were placed in front of him, nothing about their inability to box out. Their excuse for this game is that their head coach wasn’t there.
Rey Madrid was not in the venue because he was suspended for two games.
During the game, the media received a copy of UP Board Representative Ronualdo Dizer’s letter to UAAP Commissioner Andy Jao. Dizer said that the two-game suspension for Madrid was “maybe too harsh.” He even added that it would be better for the league to cut down the suspension to one game.
Let me break this down for you.
Madrid called out a UAAP referee for being crooked. He did not call him a bad referee. He called him corrupted. The referee, according to Madrid, had knowledge of the odds. The referee altered the game to help out not UST (because even Madrid said the Tigers were going to win anyway) but entities that would profit from a big UST win. The statement undermined the Commissioner and even the UAAP itself.
To put things in perspective, when PBA player Don Allado said something tweeted about the PBA, he was suspended for an entire conference and fined 500,000 pesos. His team didn’t even bother writing a letter because the penalty was fit for the crime.
And UP had the gall to call out Jao as being “too harsh.”
At the end of the day, the problem is the same for the UP Fighting Maroons. They want to portray themselves as victims of the situation, but the truth is they willingly put themselves in bad spots.
It looked like they were turning a page when they got Azkals manager Dan Palami to handle their team too. But where is he now? He used to sit on the bench but apparently, some alumni didn’t see this as proper.
A man who turned around Philippine football, a man who has the means to help UP, was eased off the bench because some old folks simply didn’t like him sitting there.
Now, we look forward to Saturday, to the UAAP’s version of the kangkungan championship. UP versus Adamson. We’ll convince ourselves that this will be a fun game to watch because one team will finally get a win.
We’ll fool ourselves into thinking that one team’s win over the other the other should be celebrated. We’ll close our minds about everything else and obsess about this one game. We’ll convince ourselves that although both teams have absolutely bungled their preparations for this UAAP season, one win is good enough for a silver lining.
It’s easy to do. UP has been doing it for so long.