MANILA, Philippines – When the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup tips off this coming Wednesday at the San Juan Arena, the University of the East (UE) Red Warriors will open the collegiate basketball season in an unfamiliar role – that of defending champions.
The Red Warriors know that a pre-season title does not guarantee a UAAP championship. In the seven previous stagings, only two summer champions have gone on to win their respective collegiate league title – La Salle in 2007 and Ateneo in 2011.
Furthermore, they will be parading a new head coach in Derek Pumaren, their fourth head coach in the last four seasons.
They will also be without former mainstays Adrian Santos, Ralf Olivares, JM Noble and Jai Flores, who have all used up their playing years.
Pumaren will count on fourth-year point guard and scoring sensation Roi Sumang, guard Gino Jumao-as and center Charles Mammie to lead their campaign.
Also at stake for UE – aside from defending their title – is moving one step closer to bringing home the Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. Perpetual Trophy, which goes to the first college team to win three consecutive Filoil crowns.
Last summer was UE’s second pre-season title after having also won in 2008.
The pre-season collegiate basketball tournament is sponsored by Flying V, Filoil, Total, Hanes, San Miguel Corporation, Starmobile, Timex, Silverworks, Gatorade, LGR and in part by Meralco, BDO, Reyes Barbecue, Douwe Egberts, Gerry’s Grill, Brothers Burger, Molten, Bayo, Oxycan, BPI, PBCom, San Marino, Red Logo, and Bacchus Energy Drink.