Bonfire celebration in UP Diliman as Fighting Maroons mark first win in two years
It is already close to 7:00 PM, and except perhaps for certain law and post-graduate courses, no professor in the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman should be holding classes anymore.
UPD students are not supposed to be gathering at the Sunken Garden on the night of August 9. But, no. This particular Saturday night is different.
This afternoon, the UP Fighting Maroons handily defeated the rookie-laden Adamson University Soaring Falcons, 77 to 64, in the UAAP senior men’s basketball tournament.
With the win, the team marked its first victory of the season (their record now stands at 1-6). More importantly, the Fighting Maroons finally ended a 27-game losing stretch, a period that began in 2012.
Everyone in the UP campus tonight was in a festive mood, and it felt as if the Fighting Maroons just defeated Jeron Teng and the defending champions De La Salle University Green Archers.
The crowd, mostly current UP students or alumnus living in the campus’ vicinity, trooped to the Sunken Garden almost as soon as it was announced over the Internet that there will be a bonfire celebration by 6PM.
It is a fulfillment of what Dan Palami, the team manager of UP Fighting Maroons, promised the day before the fight (read here a report from GMA News).
Shortly before 8 PM, a hastily-organized program began at the garden’s grandstand. Palami, together with the entire basketball team and their suspended head coach Rey Madrid was introduced to the crowd.
Ronualdo Dizer, dean of the UP College of Human Kinetics, told the crowd in jest that classes for Monday are suspended. Monday is a no class day for most UP Diliman colleges.
The Filipino Scribe got to speak briefly to Mr. Madrid after the program. “Let’s take it easy,” he said when asked if it is possible for UP to make it to the final four.
According to him, the team’s modest goal now is to pick up three more wins to avoid being the last-placer. “We should manage our expectations,” he said.
PS: Speaking to Spin.PH, Fighting Maroons forward JR Gallarza said he felt disrespected and insulted with all the hype surrounding UP’s win over Adamson.
JR Gallarza is wrong on this.
When we went in the Sunken Garden yesterday night, insulting or disrespecting the squad is certainly not our intention.
We’re used to hearing our the UP Fighting Maroons placing dead last in the team standings year after year after year. Although the recently-snapped losing skid began in 2012, UP’s reputation as a cellar dweller in UAAP men’s basketball tournament actually began a decade or so before that. So what happened yesterday was a breath of fresh air.
We don’t have sky-high expectations for the Fighting Maroons, of course. Unlike other UAAP schools, UP relies solely on the government for funding.
Unlike other teams, UP cannot just ink sponsorship deals with the likes of Nike and Adidas. And unlike other UAAP schools, UP can’t afford to send its varsity players to fancy condominiums.
Nevertheless, we want our team to live up to its name, especially the “fighting” part. We do get hurt whenever people deride the team as “Losing Maroons” or “Fighting Morons.”
We want you to fight for every point, for every possession, even “when the game goes hard.” At kapag nakita namin kayong lumalaban ng husto sa laro, hindi kami mawawala sa likod niyo. 🙂