THERE’S really nowhere to go but up for University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons.
With another major backer in Next Generation Lighting, the Fighting Maroons look to finally make a difference in the coming UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball tournament in September.
Handled by third-year coach Bo Perasol and bannered by Nigerian workhorse Bright Akhuetie, veteran Paul Desiderio, Javi and Juan Gomez de Liano, Jun Manzo, and Noah Webb, the Diliman-based team exuded confidence in making it to the Final Four for the first time since 1997.
The addition of Akhuetie and other blue-chip recruits as well as the improvement of its young core certainly make UP as one of the teams to watch in the coming UAAP season, along with defending champion Ateneo de Manila University and perennial title contender De La Salle University.
The formal signing of the memorandum of agreement between Nxled and UP was held at the Quezon Hall of UP Diliman with no less than Nxled executive vice president Catherine Tiu-Tan and UP Diliman Chancellor Dr. Michael L. Tan the other day.
Also present during the signing ceremony were Robinson Retail Holdings, Inc. president, CEO and director Robina Gokongwei-Pe; NowheretogobutUP Foundation chairman Atty. Agaton Uvero; Perasol and his coaching staff and the Fighting Maroons.
“As a homegrown company committed to bring the latest lighting innovations, Nxled is excited for bright future of the UP Fighting Maroons,” said Tiu-Tan during the ceremony.
“We believe in this promising team and we pledge our full support as they embark in a new direction this season.”
“We thank Nxled for recognizing the potential of this young team,” said Perasol. “We are proud to have maintained their support and trust in us, as we aim higher this coming season.”
Said Atty. Uvero: “We are grateful to enjoy Nxled’s backing. We will strive to represent the brand well in the upcoming UAAP season.”
This year, the Fighting Maroons will travel all the way to Serbia for a two-week training camp.
The team is scheduled to leave on July 21 and return on Aug. 5.
Batang Gilas standout Kobe Paras and former LA Salle mainstay Ricci Rivero are also set to join the team next season.
The Fighting Maroons, who finished fifth overall with a 6-8 record last year, made it to the quarterfinals of the recently-concluded 2018 Fil-Oil Preseason Cup.
UP last won a title in 1986 with a team bannered by the Mutt and Jeff combination of Benjie Paras and Ronnie Magsanoc and handled by former natonal team coach Joe Lipa.