We’ve heard many stories, and maybe the more captivating ones are those whose storyline takes its characters from zero to hero. While there are plenty of fictional narratives that revolve around such a plot, a story becomes more compelling when it touches on real-life experiences.
The journey of the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons, for instance, is a classic example of a good character development. From being underdogs in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament several years ago, they have become a powerhouse in the league. Last season, they outdid other teams and had been pitted against the Ateneo Blue Eagles in the Finals, their first time in 32 years.
The Maroons may have not won the games—with Ateneo clinching the two wins that earned them the championship—but they have certainly won the hearts of many. Then team captain Paul Desiderio’s mantra, ‘Atin ‘to,’ has become the battle cry not only of the team, but also of the whole University, their fans, and the entire basketball community.
To inspire more people, a coffee table book that discusses their rags to riches story is about to hit the shelves soon. Sports journalist Naveen Ganglani takes us into a closer look on the events that led the team to where they are now. With his accounts that go beyond the court, having witnessed the development of UP through his UAAP coverage since 2009, Ganglani will chronicle how a group of UP alumni and volunteers reinvigorated their alma mater’s sports programs.
One needs not to be an Isko or Iska to appreciate UP, whose Finals appearance last season was nothing short of phenomenal. Backed by a comprehensive and accurate research, the book aims to answer a handful of questions about the rise of the Maroons. There will also be exclusive interviews with UP’s coaching staff and players.
“What led to UP hero and legend Paul Desiderio nearly missing out on the chance to wear the school’s name across his chest? How was a once-in-a-generation talent like Juan Gomez De Liaño brought into the fold? Why was it so important for UAAP MVP Bright Akhuetie to leave a legacy at UP that he chose the school over other suitors? These are just some of the questions the book hopes to answer,” says Ganglani, an alumnus of the De La Salle University who admits to being a UP fan himself.
UP head coach Bo Perasol, meanwhile, assures that even those who are not technically part of the UP community can still relate to the book—for it’s a story of interminable motivation and relentless dedication, in relation to the fact that UP is the only state university in the collegiate league.
“”It’s a very interesting story, and we hope that it will inspire those who face enormous challenges in the pursuit of their ambitions.Nakakaiyak, nakakatawa, nakaka-inspire,” shares coach Perasol, who graduated from UP Diliman in 1994.
The book will be published by the Nowhere to go but UP Foundation.
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