The incredible journey of how the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons Men’s Basketball Team (UPMBT) rose from being a perennial bottom dweller to a championship contender is chronicled in a soon-to-be-released book published by the Nowhere To Go But UP Foundation.
The upcoming release of “Nowhere To Go But UP (How a Basketball Team Inspired a Nation)” authored by sports journalist Naveen Ganglani was announced on social media in mid-October with a teaser prologue that gives a peek into the inspiring tale of a turnaround from adversity that captured the attention of the world and inspired songs, poetry, and chants.
“It’s a story about the rise of the University of the Philippines’ men’s basketball program, which went from having no food, water, and electricity, to playing at college basketball’s grandest state. But more importantly, how that team inspired an entire country what can be possible when we come together to aim for one goal,” said author Ganglani in a social media post ahead of the semi-finals game where the #UPFight crowd cheered on, prayed for, and witnessed its team’s last game this season 82 of the University Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP).
The UP-themed book chronicles in detail the journey from 2014 to the UPMBT’s first finals appearance in 32 years at the UAAP Season 82, a feat that was hailed in 2018 as a Top 10 Inspirational Story and the UP Fighting Maroons as Top 10 Best Filipino Pride Icon.
“Nowhere To Go But UP (How a Basketball Team Inspired a Nation)” promises to bring the reader through the steps taken by a group of UP Alumni led by Renan Dalisay and Ags Uvero in the last five years to get the UP Fighting Maroons where they are now – “a household name in collegiate sports, and the ultimate talk of the town” whose games are sure bestsellers with a loud-and-proud 6th (wo)man never-say-die crowd that wore maroon and bled maroon.
The book is an “in-depth tale filled with emotions” of the story as told from exclusive interviews with UP’s players, coaching staff, and key UP alumni who supported the state university’s athletic programs and eventually boosted the UP Fighting Maroons roster that now includes basketball pedigreed Kobe Paras and UAAP champion Ricci Rivero who drew fan attention even from outside UP.
“That journey includes anecdotes of personal sacrifice, trust in the unknown, and the will to keep going. Many have read about the bonfire, the big wins, and 16 Strong, but only few know about how each step was a part of a mission to unite the divided sections of the proud University of the Philippines community,” reveals the NTGBU Foundation.
NTGBU chairperson and UP Maroons manager Atty. Agaton Uvero said of the book, “the goal really is to produce a tome that will be enjoyed not only by UP alumni and fans of the Fighting Maroons, but also by those who are looking for motivation to strive for something bigger.”
Here are excerpts from the book’s prologue:
“When it was time for the UPMBT to face their crowd as UP Naming Mahal played through the speakers, it was both devastating and heart-warming. Players couldn’t control their reactions. Some had regrets. Some were left dumbfounded because their best wasn’t good enough. Some looked for answers on what could possibly be next after one hell of a ride.
“UP FIGHT! the crowd shouted at them, fists raised, flashlights turned on, but battling the same creeping feelings.
“UP FIGHT! they roared again, until they could not roar anymore.
“It was a representation of why UP’s run to the finals was so exceptional: backed by an undying and unconditional sixth man, the 16 players and the coaches on the bench always had a united community by their side.”
“Nowhere To Go But UP (How a Basketball Team Inspired a Nation)” pre-orders will be announced on the foundation’s website and social media.
SEND congratulations and #UPFight cheers in the comments below to the Nowhere To Go But UP Foundation and its collaborators for documenting the legacy of the UP Fighting Maroons!
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