MANILA, Philippines -- Bo Perasol's return to the sidelines for University of the Philippines (UP) did not go as he hoped, as the Fighting Maroons suffered a costly 84-78 defeat to University of Santo Tomas (UST) on Wednesday night.
Perasol coached for the first time after serving a two-game suspension following his ejection in their game against Ateneo de Manila University last September 29. He had missed UP's games against Far Eastern University and University of the East.
The Fighting Maroons were unable to give him a win in his return, as they surrendered a 10-0 run in the final 90 seconds of the game to the Growling Tigers.
"I need to take the positive side of our game," said Perasol afterward, as UP dropped to 6-4 in the UAAP Season 82 tournament.
The coach admitted that in the first half, they were thoroughly outplayed by the Growling Tigers. UST nailed a whopping 12 three-pointers in the first two frames, and took a 48-41 lead into the break.
"UST really wanted it more," Perasol observed. "I told them na if that's going to be the case, we just have to hand over the win already to UST, because there's no chance that we're going to win against them, if that is the body language that we're going to show."
The Maroons responded to his challenge in the second half, and seized a 78-74 lead with 1:42 left after a booming three-pointer by Kobe Paras. Unfortunately for UP, it was their last bucket of the game: they could not stop Renzo Subido down the stretch, as the veteran guard engineered UST's comeback.
Perasol was disappointed at their poor play on both ends down the stretch, but said that there was no use in dwelling on the loss.
"I really think it could have gone the either way," he said. "Ang ganda ng pinakita ni Kobe, despite the fact na may injury 'yung shoulder niya."
"At the end of the day, we just have to take whatever positives we can take in this game," he added.
Still, Perasol knows that UP cannot afford anymore slip-ups, with just four games left in their elimination round schedule.
Right now, they are just half a game ahead of UST for the No. 2 seed, as the Tigers improved to 6-5 with their victory. The España-based team also swept their season series against UP, as they claimed an 85-69 win over the Maroons in the first round.
"We need to figure out ourselves," admitted Perasol.
"There's still a chance for us, (but) it's narrowing down," he added. "We're still there, but we need to get one more win, and then another win."
"We need to take that because it's not getting easier."
UP will try to get back on the winning track on Sunday against Adamson University.
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.