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Loss leaves Maroons hurting

‘For the past few games that has been our problem. As if we’re waiting for our opponents to throw the first punches before punching back’

University of the Philippines winger CJ Cansino felt that the Fighting Maroons failed to absorb much of the lessons they should’ve learned in games heading into their stinging loss to defending champion Ateneo de Manila University.

He thought their mistakes and tentativeness finally caught up with them as they absorbed their first loss in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 86 men’s basketball tournament.

“For the past few games that has been our problem. As if we’re waiting for our opponents to throw the first punches before punching back,” Cansino said, following the Fighting Maroons’ 89-99 overtime loss at the end of the first round on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Even before the loss, UP had some close calls including a three-point escape over De La Salle University before its finals rematch against the Blue Eagles.

“We didn’t get the win but hopefully we’ll learn from our loss,” Cansino, who dropped 22 points in a lost cause, said.

The loss hit Cansino differently as it is the first time he faced Ateneo back on the court after missing last season to recuperate from a knee injury.

“Of course, it’s emotional for me to get to experience to play against them once again. But it’s more of frustration because we didn’t learn from our past games just because we’re piling up wins,” Cansino said.

“So, hopefully, this loss will wake us up heading into the second round.”

Despite the loss, the Fighting Maroons kept their hold of the lead with a 6-1 win-loss record. However, UP now shares the top spot with National University.

Head coach Goldwin Monteverde admitted that defeat was difficult to absorb especially after a good run but he would rather it happened now for him to make the proper adjustments.

“Well, a loss wherever in the season, will sting. Hard to accept. But at the same time, we’re just halfway (into the season). And, the team is still growing,” Monteverde said.

“That’s our focus every time we play. Every time we talk about the things we need to improve on. Hopefully, we’ll wake up after this.”

UP begins its second-round campaign on Wednesday against Adamson University at the Mall of Asia Arena.

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