Basketball fans in the University of the Philippines community are happy these days. Not one, but two collegiate superstars, Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero, are set to join the Fighting Maroons in season 82 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP). The UP faithful is probably so happy that they are collectively singing the Tina Turner and Rod Stewart’s “It Takes Two,” in their heads: “One can have a dream, baby. Two can make a dream so real.”
Sure, Kobe and Ricci will have to sit out the upcoming season to fulfill residency requirements. But as former Boston Celtics general manager Red Auerbach once pointed out, “Do you know how short a time a year is?” Auerbach drafted Larry Bird in 1978 even though the Celtics had to wait one year before Bird could play in the NBA.
Reliving past glory.
The last time UP won a championship in the UAAP was in 1986. That’s three years before the Eraserheads was formed in Diliman, and four years before a single unit in UP cost P200. (That’s if you were not in any Socialized Tuition Fee Assistance Program (STFAP) bracket.) It was a long time ago. Some of the members of that UP Fighting Maroons team were Benjie Paras, Ronnie Magsanoc, and Eric Altamirano.
Why settle for the Final Four?
The UP Fighting Maroons, let’s face it, has been a mostly sad-looking group. Last season, they had a shooter named Paul Desiderio who gave the team a couple of buzzer-beating wins. Desiderio, on his fifth and final year in UP, has said he would return this coming UAAP season to try and push the team to the final four. When Desiderio leaves, the vacuum in the offense can be filled by Kobe and Ricci. So why should the goal be kept to the final four? They can push for the finals with this lineup. Kobe Paras is his father’s son. The impact he will have on the team is like the sound of the backboard breaking from a powerful dunk, while Ricci has had Finals experience.
Pretty Boy in Peyups will bring the fans.
We know how many likes Ricci can garner with a single article. And Kobe is not far from being a headturner himself, with a strong following too. Those likes and followers will translate to fans cheering their heart out in UAAP Season 82. Mark our words.