By Katherine Verances Marfal
Three years ago, University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons experienced their worst nightmare by having a winless season. Joe Lipa was relieved from duty in the following season and Aboy Castro took over the tactical choirs. In his two seasons, Castro compiled a dismal 6 wins and 22 loses. But, are they going to be forever distinguished as whipping boys? This year, Migs De Asis, Kevin Astroga and Arvhin Braganza are only key losses for them. Fighting Maroons will attempt again to end their 13-year final four drought with the strongest lineup in 5 years inarguably.
On their final year, the triumvirate of Woody Co, Martin Reyes and Magie Sison are the men who will be expected to carry the load for them. Plus the help from other guys who made significant contributions last season like, Mikee Reyes, Alvin Padilla and Mark Lopez. Co and Sision definitely assumed the job in operating and protecting the paint. Mikee Reyes finally gets the starting job at the point while Martin Reyes will help the flow of the offense of the Maroons through his outside snipping ability.
Padilla and Lopez are the men who are very eager to breakdown the defense and do some dirty works at will. However, the most interesting pieces in their campaign right now are their new recruits which will be very vital in their campaign and to the future of the team. One of them is former Jose Rizal University light bomber and scoring sensation Joshua Saret. He was remembered by most of his fans when he exploded with 89 points in a single game. Aside from that, Saret also proved that he is a versatile cager by posting 14 assists, 13 rebounds and 11 steals in that game. Another first year player who is on the watch is Filipino-American Michael Silungan. 6 foot 4 forward is being noted in one of their pre season matchups by scoring 35 points.
For coach Aboy, he guaranteed a different outcome this year.
His team is very different, more make up and more solid. He believes that they have already the tools to make it to the final four.
Let us see if the UP Fighting Maroons can finally move up to the next level, which they have never accomplished in more than a decade.
(Katherine Verances Marfal is a freelance writer. Among the publications she writes for are the Manila Bulletin, Sports Digest, Panorama and Pilipino Star Ngayon. She is also a Web Content Writer and teaches Pre-school at Philippine Normal University).