What was up with UP’s short shorts?

Fashion trends, in one way or another, sometimes find a way back to people’s consciousness after several decades of being considered extinct.

A prime example of fashion making a comeback are those long “elephant” pants that made waves in the early 2000s. It was a kind of a reincarnation of those long and baggy, bell-bottom pants that made noise back in the ‘70s. The same goes for other trends and styles, like the Ray-ban sunglasses Tom Cruise made famous in Top Gun, the high-waist jeans mommies made popular in the ‘90s, and the fanny packs everyone wore in the ‘80s that’s actually making a return recently.

Basketball fashion, for that matter, is undergoing its own fashion change – particularly its on-court shorts.

Those 5-inch seams people saw back in the heyday of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird are making a comeback not just in the NBA, but most recently the country’s favorite collegiate league – the UAAP.

The latest to sport the trend, the UP Fighting Maroons.

In their opening game vs. the FEU Tamaraws, the boys from Diliman sported the classic look that supposedly died with John Stockton when he retired in 2003.

Back in Season 81, it was only their own young blood James Spencer who preferred the short shorts look. Who would have thought his teammates would follow suit in their first game for Season 82?

“I ain’t playing in this shit,” Bright Akhuetie jokingly said, upon leaving the dugout. (He still did though and played well, tallying 7 points and 11 rebounds.)

Rather than help the team perform up to the expectations people have put on UP before the season, the shorts actually served as a distraction, as voiced by head coach Bo Perasol in the post-game interview:

“I told them if they’re gonna be distracted by that then I also have to feel distracted with this skinny shirt. It was just a lapse. We got distracted at the beginning of the game but we have to go through that also.”

Luckily they did.

It’s not the first time the short shorts are making a comeback. Former Adamson forward Sean Manganti was actually the first to bring it back to the limelight since he entered the league in 2016. It even became shorter as his 3 seasons went by, being the shortest last season when he and his Falcons played this same Fighting Maroons squad. Even Thirdy Ravena sported shorter shorts in the UAAP Finals last season.

Lakers forward LeBron James is the other proponent of this movement in recent years. As the King insists on wearing shorts several inches less than his league counterparts, he proposes it’s to project that look of professionalism, that he means business every single time.

If the Maroons’ apparel provider thought it could have the same LeBron effect on the team, it clearly backfired. UP didn’t dominate like everyone expected them to in their first game. They struggled against a young FEU team rolling out a new core.

Their first game showed they’re still far from where they want to be. Everyone’s not yet on the same page. Crucial turnovers, errant passes, and silly fouls almost cost them the game against a gritty, rookie-laden Morayta team.

If not for Bright and Jun Manzo’s heroics in the endgame, and also a couple of misses by the Tams from wide-open looks, the story may have been different.

Their official apparel provider admitted it was an error on their part, and were quick to promise that the issue will be fixed come the Maroons’ next game.

The Fighting Maroons also have a lot to fix themselves beyond their shorts. Coach Bo himself that admitted they’ll fix the issue come the next game. Everyone certainly hopes so, as they are set to go up against a promising UST Growling Tigers squad that looks ready to pick-up from that impressive showing last season where they came up just short of the Final Four.

Having a distraction in the form of these short bottoms is something they can’t afford to have, with all the promise and expectations set on them this 2019. The only “short” thing this new group of Maroons hope to have should be the time they learn to gel and finally unleash that talent they have on the UAAP hardcourt. Here’s to hoping they won’t come up “short” the next game.