Bo Perasol had to exit the playing court after getting disqualified during the intense battle between his UP Fighting Maroons and the Ateneo Blue Eagles on Wednesday.
The seasoned mentor could only watch in the dugout as his team eventually fell to Ateneo, 87-79.
It with under seven minutes remaining when things took an awful turn for Perasol. The defending champions were up by nine, 73-62, as the Fighting Maroons were trying to make a run. Bright Akhuetie rose for a dunk and was met mid-air by William Navarro, but no foul was called. Perasol then came charging inside the court obviously upset with one of the referees. He was tossed from the game moments after.
"I was emphasizing to my team to have composure and I apologized to them because I was the one who first lost it," said a regretful Perasol after the game. "No matter what happens, I think I had to be accountable to them. No matter how bad the calls are going to be, it's going to happen. The disparity of the fouls called on us, the disparity of the free throws -- it's all part of the game."
"I think it was an obvious call for me," he said of the game-changing play. "I think that Bright got fouled in there, then the landing spot. It was a series of events."
Perasol was calm and collected in his attempt to explain his actions. However, he also wanted to make a point that his guys were in a position topple the seemingly unbeatable Blue Eagles. Juan Gomez De Liaño was playing his best game, single-handedly keeping his team within striking distance. The sophomore guard busted out his bag of offensive tricks that left the Eagles dumbfounded as he finished with a career-high 29 points. Veteran Paul Desiderio had 15 points, six rebounds, and six assists, while Akhuetie also had an all-around game of eight points, 11 boards, and nine assists.
But the glaring stat Perasol was referring to the wasn't the points, field goal percentage, rebounds, or turnovers. It was the difference in the number of fouls and free throws that was caught his attention. UP was called for a total of 24 fouls while Ateneo only had 11. The Fighting Maroons went to the line only seven times, while the Eagles made a living at the stripe with 31 attempts.
"I don't know what was in their minds but I wanted to make sure that they understand. I'm not going to stand in there and watch them lose because they are not calling it," the coach strongly pointed out. "We prepared hard for this and they have to understand that. I think they understand that. You can't just be inefficient with what you do and let the other parties understand. We have to be efficient in what we do."
UP was poised and ready to hand Ateneo its second loss of the season. Without question, the Fighting Maroons brought the fight to the defending champions. In the end, it all boiled down to the last few plays of the ball game when Perasol wasn't on the sidelines to guide his squad.
"I just had to be better as a coach. I have to make sure that I will be with them during those times because this is just the second game," Perasol shared. "I have to commend my guys for fighting against the defending champion who wasn't expected to lose in the first game but then again lost and was raring to get back at anybody."
"I think that we made sure that we fought hard. I think we had the right attitude going into the game but it's just that we lost discipline in the end. So, we had lots of things to learn and this is going to be a learning process coming into the next games."
Perasol and the rest of the Fighting Maroons are hoping to get back on track when they go up against the UST Growling Tigers on Sunday.