MANILA, Philippines – With a little over three months to go before Season 77 of the UAAP basketball tournament unfolds, the University of the East is still without a coach.
The Warriors, whose former coach Boycie Zamar was recently released, though are in the process of selecting a replacement, possibly one among a mixed group alumni headed by seasoned mentors Robert "Sonny" Jaworski, Jimmy Mariano and Nat Canson.
Just Monday, UE has left out of its shortlist, which also included former players George Ella and Luis Palaganas, Derrick Pumaren while eliminating entirely the name of Alaska assistant coach Louie Alas out of the equation after the latter's name was floated the other day.
"I don't think so," said UE sports director Rodrigo Roque when asked by mediamen if Pumaren was still in the list and if Alas is truly in the conversation.
Reports have it that top UE officials are looking for a coach who could meet two primary requirements: He must be an alumnus and committed full-time in coaching the Recto-based dribblers.
"Management wants a coach who will handle the team full time," said Roque.
Zamar, who returned as a coach of UE three years ago, was not renewed after school officials felt he didn't commit fully to handle the Warriors as he has a commitment in the PBA, where he was then an assistant for Brgy. Ginebra before moving to San Miguel Beer.
Zamar, however, said he has nothing bad to say about his alma mater.
"I will always be grateful and thankful to UE," said Zamar, who was part of the UE team that won back-to-back championships in 1984 to 1985 along with Allan Caidic and Jerry Codinera, in a statement.
"Aside from the opportunity to play and coach, UE also allowed me to acquire a management degree.
"I will always be a Warrior for life," he added.