UAAP: After losing to Ateneo, UP quickly shifted focus to the Final Four
MANILA, Philippines — University of the Philippines coach Goldwin Monteverde took fault for their second-half collapse that resulted in a 75-67 defeat to rival Ateneo on Saturday.
The Fighting Maroons took the lead in the first half but they were unable to continue their momentum in the final two as the Blue Eagles took control.
“I think we were really prepared for the game. We started off low, but before the second quarter, I think we had really caught it in a confusing way. But we [failed to sustain it] in the second half. I guess it’s for us coaches. I believe the boys really worked hard in the game,” Monteverde said after the Fighting Maroons failed to reassert their control over the Blue Eagles in front of 14,328 fans.
Zavier Lucero missed all of his 11 shots in the game as UP had a shot-from-field ratio of 31.3%, while MVP contender Malick Diouf ran into trouble and finished with just seven as 2/4 shots, seven bounces, three assists and two steals.
Despite the struggles of the star duo of Fighting Maroons, Monteverde remains confident that Lucero, Diouf and the rest of his ward will come up against the tide in the Finals.
“I think as a team, we always accept challenges, help each other, give our best. Things like this happen. What’s important to us is our response,” said the UAAP champion coach. “Knowing Zavier, for sure, I am sure he will fight until the end of the season. Knowing this team, we always play this kind of game and improve from there and come back as a better team.
UP have lost two of their last three games, including a tough defeat to La Salle last week, to end qualifying with an 11-3 record and a guaranteed two-beat advantage. The seeding of the defending champions still depends on the outcome of the final knockout match between Ateneo and Adamson on Wednesday.
Monteverde wants the Fighting Maroons to carry on after the tough end of the knockout campaign and bring with them all the lessons they can learn from the losses as they prepare for Round 4 of the Finals with a benchmark week. bag.
“After our game today, when we wake up tomorrow it’s over. The important thing now is to look forward to our next match, whoever we will face in the Finals. Since Day One, our first game, we’ve played one game at a time. I was very consistent about what to do,” he said. “For sure, tonight we learned a lot as a team. It’s important for us to be ready for the Finals.”
“Our coaches, we’re going to watch the game, look at it, look at it. We will focus on ourselves first, on what needs to be done. Then when the time comes when we know who will be our opponents in the Finals, that’s when we deal with them,” he added.
On a positive note for UP, Terrence Fortea returned to action after an ankle injury, scoring 9 points after nearly 20 minutes of play. Although some of his players are still recovering from injuries, Monteverde hopes everyone will be present for the Finals.
“When the Finals begin, the players will only suffer from their health [issues]. Whatever happens, I’m sure, as a team, we’ll be really ready to fight for it,” he said.
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