WATCH: UP Maroons ready for the spotlight

The Fighting Maroons boast a talented big man in former NCAA star Bright Akhuetie

Naveen Ganglani

Published: 1:23 AM September 8, 2018

Updated: 3:33 AM September 8, 2018

ALL SET. Paul Desiderio and the UP Maroons hope to get over the hump this season. Photo by Josh Albelda/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – For so long UP fans have had to sit through losing season after losing season, patiently awaiting for the time their Maroons could finally end the dry spell.

That time may soon be arriving.

After missing the Final Four by a game last year with a 6-8 record, UP is one of the contenders to make the UAAP men's basketball semis in Season 81 that begins on Saturday, September 8.

Now boasting a talented big man in former NCAA star Bright Akhuetie, the Maroons also are thinking bigger with a potential finals appearance in mind.

Aside from Akhuetie, UP is welcoming new faces in David Murell, JD Tungcab, Will Gozum, and James Spencer, while Pio Longga is set to make his return to the team after a year off.

With familiar faces, coach Bo Perasol will continue to rely on his veterans Paul Desiderio and Jun Manzo, while the Gomez De Liaño brothers will play major supporting roles.

For more on this year’s UP team, which is expected to end the program’s 21-year Final Four drought, watch the video above. –