MANILA, Philippines — University of the Philippines guard Harold Alarcon and JD Cagulangan remained hungry amid the Fighting Maroons’ 5-0 start in the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament.
Alarcon and Cagulangan powered UP’s 110-79 rout of winless University of Santo Tomas to stay on top of the league on Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena.
But the guards downplayed their unbeaten run — the school’s best start in the Final Four era — and vowed to keep on improving in their redemption bid after settling for a runner-up finish last year.
“We have to be consistent on all the right things we do and lessen the bad habits we commit in the game,” said Alarcon in Filipino after leading UP with 21 points, four rebounds, and four assists.
Cagulangan, who was the hero in UP’s first UAAP championship in 36 years after hitting the game-winner in the Season 84 Finals Game 3, stressed that they shouldn’t be overconfident with their good start.
“Siguro wag magiging kumpiyansa sa lahat ng bagay mapapractice man o game. Ang goal namin start pa lang ng season makuha yung pinakapotential ng laro namin,” said Cagulangan, who tallied 16 points, nine assists, three steals, and two rebounds.
(We just can’t be overconfident whether in practice or during the game. Our goal since the start of the season is to reach our true potential.)
The graduating UP guard puts a premium on being dedicated in everything they do in practice and games
“We have to always regroup to make sure no one will be too confident. For me, it starts in practice on how we will be disciplined,” Cagulangan said in Filipino.
UP coach Goldwin Monteverde said that his wards should continue learning from their wins to unlock their full potential.
“[From our bad game against FEU] we need those kinds of situations to wake up the team. So we can regroup and talk about the things we can improve to [unlock the] full potential of the team. I think we’re still far from where we want to be. We need to work on our defense,” Monteverde said in Filipino.
UP eyes its sixth straight win against La Salle on Wednesday at MOA Arena.