Protect the ball better and crash the boards more often.
Those two key points should be tops in University of the Philippines’ game plan against an equally struggling University of the East on Wednesday when they take separate ways in the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tourney at the Mall of Asia Arena.
After dropping their first three matches by an average losing margin of more than 14 points, the Fighting Maroons are hard-pressed to turn their fortunes around in their 2 p.m. showdown with the struggling Red Warriors, who are also looking for a breakthrough victory on their fourth try.
Keeping his focus on his team’s issues, UP’s first-year coach Bo Perasol knows exactly what the Fighting Maroons need to do in order to overcome the Red Warriors.
“We have to minimize our turnovers and haul down rebounds to have a better chance of winning over UE,” Perasol told FOX Sports on Tuesday.
While they have been the league’s worst defensive team so far, allowing 92 points per game, the Fighting Maroons have also struggled down low, coming up with just 39.0 rebounds—second-worst—while turning the ball over at least 24 times per outing.
“We really can’t focus on what others will do against us. First, we need to focus on what we can do. We need to get better,” Perasol continued.
Veteran wingman Paul Desiderio and gunner Jett Manuel have been dishing out their usual numbers, combining for 34 points, 9.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game.
But the remaining Fighting Maroons have been groping for form, something that Perasol needs to address quick.
“We need to take care of our own business,” he said. “In the end we need to play the game that we can play. ‘Yung kaya lang namin. We just hope that after giving it our best then we will have a chance of winning in the end.” – Jerome Lagunzad
Follow this writer on Twitter: @JLFoxSports