Photo #296: October 23
For the benefit of the new generation(s) of UP Men’s Basketball Team fans, let me share what happened in 2004 – UAAP Season 67.
I was a sophomore back then, but I’ve been supporting the UP MBT since I entered the UPIS in 1999. Anyway, we started the season with 6 straight losses. My friends and I, we called ourselves the Maroon Maniacs, still supported them and watched their games live because that’s what real fans do! Now for our 7th game, it was against NU at the Araneta Coliseum, another team that wasn’t doing well at that time. OMG WE WON THAT GAME, AND IT FELT LIKE WE WERE CHAMPIONS!
Many people thought it was a one-time thing, but noooooo! We went on to defeat AdU, UE, UST, FEU, and *ONE BIG GASP* even Ateneo! The Ateneo game was extra physical, though. Marvin Cruz was suspended for pushing LA Tenorio!
The team became a dark horse because of their consecutive wins. Nangangamoy Final Four: a feat that UP hasn’t achieved since Paolo Mendoza days, a little over a decade then. However, on September 4 at the ULTRA (now called the Phil-Sports Arena), DLSU (led by Cardona, Yeo, etc.) put a stop to our F4 bid. It was a good run, and at the end of the season, we had a 7-7 record (we had a sweep of NU).
This is actually an appreciation post for one of the best coaches the UP MBT has ever had: Coach Lito Vergara! He encouraged the players to improve and WIN! At the same time, he was (and still is) equally supportive of us fans! I’m glad we’re still friends after all these years!
One team, one heart, UP FIGHT!
p.s. a few days ago, he challenged me to make a poster showing my support for Toti Almeda, and to bring it to today’s game… so hello, challenge accepted hahahaha! I printed it on a piece of A4 paper, and I even ran out of ink, so I had to use a marker to shade the affected area. I used an old cardboard box to make the poster sturdier haha ways ways!