'Perasol's absence helped motivate Blue Eagles'
|Ateneo assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga signals to his players. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com|
MANILA, Philippines – The absence of Ateneo head coach Bo Perasol helped fire up the Blue Eagles in their crucial game against the University of the East (UE) Red Warriors Sunday, according to assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga.
Arespacochaga, who called the shots for Ateneo in their 77-72 victory, said their victory – which kept the Blue Eagles’ hopes of making the Final Four alive – was dedicated to Perasol.
“This was also for Coach Bo, so it was extra motivation on our part. We knew how much he wanted to be with us, but of course, we also said that because of the suspension – and we didn’t argue with it – we just have to live with the consequences of what happened,” Arespacochaga said.
Perasol was suspended for one game after confronting a La Salle alumnus following their loss to the Green Archers the previous Sunday.
“I’m very happy that I was able to do this for Coach Bo,” Arespacochaga said. “And not just me – I’m sure all of the players and all of the coaches share the same sentiment.”
Arespacochaga, a longtime assistant who also served as Ateneo head coach in 2004, said he and the rest of the coaching staff were merely doing their job by stepping up in Perasol’s absence.
“I was executing what Coach Bo wanted to do. He practiced with the team and then we mapped out what he wanted to do… It’s a big responsibility, but the coaching staff had to do it. We had to step up for Coach Bo,” he said.
“We’re a team, so when one is down, we pick each other up. So we in the coaching staff just stepped up in Coach Bo’s absence,” he added.
The win over UE gave Ateneo a 7-5 record, tied with the University of Santo Tomas for a share of fourth place. The Red Warriors, meanwhile, are now out of the running for a spot in the Final Four as they suffered their seventh loss in 12 games.