Even with a UAAP title, UP wants to take their game to the next level

The UP Men's Football team pose with the school's first and only UAAP title this season alongside Human Kinetics Dean Ron Dizer. Denver Lachica/Dugout Philippines
By Kevin Estrada

MANILA -- Even with the UAAP men's football crown in their grasp, the quest of taking the game to the next level continues for the University of the Philippines.

For manager Anto Gonzales, winning was just a bonus for the Fighting Maroons, moments after Thursday's win in the final against UST gave them their eighteenth' plum in the league, their fourth in this decade, as he bared the things that made State U one of the country's collegiate football powerhouse.

"I think the players are devoted and passionate to play for the school," the former Maroon said while concluding his ninth season with his alma mater in whom he won back-to-back titles as a player under Bob Salvacion. "Speaking from my experience, my main motivation is because UP has done so much." 

His story touched everyone in the team, and Ian Clarino and co. made sure that they will be rewarded as being the greatest this year.

"I think these boys also feel the same way, and those who had come before us, they feel the same. UP has done great things for us, this is our way to give back."

For him, the passion of the players to push themselves to the limit speaks volumes about their work ethic on and off the pitch, as each and everyone of them brought the best of the squad, which has contributed a lot for Philippine football.

Their unbeaten title run this year gave comparisons to the similar feat they made six years ago, but for him, their winning ways still remain despite their shift in their footballing philosophy.

"We're not concerned being unbeaten, or having the most number of wins," he then said.

"I think back then, our thrust was really our defence. We have few players on the attack, when given a chance, they will score. But this team, I think we have so many players who can really score. The past few years, we've really been quite an attacking team."

He added that they are just fortunate to be on top of the recruitment game every off-season, wherein the prestige of becoming an Iskolar ng Bayan was too good to turn them down, let alone wearing the legendary Sablay after all of their academic credits and their playing careers are exhausted.

"I guess it's a matter of finding the right combinations," he then said.

To them, the work continues for the Fighting Maroons even after taking home another silverware into their fabled trophy cabinet.
"We don't rest. When we achieve something, we want to go to the next challenge."

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