By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
Senior Reporter

WHILE Season 83 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines is still months away, the UP men’s basketball team is all set to go on gear-up mode as it begins its preparations, eyeing training abroad and joining various tournaments.

Made it to the Final Four in the last two UAAP seasons, the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons are out to sustain the streak, beginning offseason training early so as to develop the skills and the system they need to make another solid run in the tournament.

“Offseason training is going to be the baseline of how you will do in the regular season. So, whatever it is that you do in the offseason is going to dictate what your season is going to be,” said UP coach Bo Perasol.

To aid them in their thrust, the UP men’s team is getting support from businessman JJ Atencio of STATS Performance Apparel.

Mr. Atencio has thrown his support in what Mr. Perasol and his team are trying to achieve and also underscored the importance of going in every competition prepared for a better chance of succeeding.

“Training plays a vital part in preparing the players for the season. I personally targeted to come in and sponsor training abroad to help mold the mentality of the group. This is not only for their physical development but also for their mental fortitude; and for them to realize that there is much more to achieve if they set their mind properly,” said Mr. Atencio who is also CEO and Chairman of Januarius Holdings Inc.

The Maroons are eyeing a number of training abroad, including one in Auckland, New Zealand.

“The countries we go to are usually places where basketball is big. The development there is way ahead of us, so that is where we benefit from new technologies, new advancements, new ideas, new ways to train. Besides looking for training opportunities, we also look to compete in pocket tournaments here and abroad to give us different points of view, a different experience and different kinds of play,” said Mr. Perasol.

The UP coach, however, was quick to say that all these depend on how things pan out for ongoing health concerns brought about by the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which has already reached more than a hundred countries.

UP as well plans to take part in the Fil-Oil Pre-Season Tournament in May and defend their title in the upcoming BLIA Cup in Taiwan this July.