UAAP S77 Preview: UE Red Warriors
Season 76 record: 7-7 (5th)
Season 76 recap:
A strong pre-season that saw the University of the East (UE) win the FilOil tournament led pundits to believe that the Red Warriors were ready to be among the top contenders in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament. But the young Warriors struggled out of the game, stumbling to a 1-3 record. They put together a four-game winning streak bridging the first and second rounds to get back in contention, but four straight losses – including two in overtime -- were a big blow to their Final Four hopes.
Losses: Coach Boycie Zamar, Lord Casajeros, Ralf Olivares, Adrian Santos, JM Noble, Jai Flores, JR Sumido
Holdovers: Roi Sumang, Charles Mammie, Chris Javier, Bong Galanza, Gino Jumao-as, Mark Olayon, Dan Alberto, Ivan Hernandez
Acquisitions: Moustapha Arafat, RR de Leon, Paul Varilla, Daryl Guiang, Junard Caparida, Renz Palma, Edgar Charcos, Steven Cudal, Clark Derige
Season 77 Projection:
There is tremendous pressure on this season’s hosts, UE Red Warriors, after they finished just outside of the Final Four last year. But with a new coach and new system in place, and after losing several veterans, the Red Warriors may be in for a difficult campaign.
UE’s star guard Roi Sumang admits that the team is still adjusting to the system being put in place by new head coach Derrick Pumaren, with some players still struggling to the famous Pumaren press. Time was not on the side of the Red Warriors, however, as Pumaren only came on board in April, giving them only around four months to come together as a team.
It will be unwise to completely count out the Red Warriors, however, especially with Sumang and Charles Mammie still in the fold. Another foreign player, Moustapha Arafat, has shown flashes of brilliance in pre-season play and is expected to step up during the times when Mammie is sitting on the bench.
If Sumang continues to improve, and if Mammie shows that he has grown and matured, then the Red Warriors will have a shot to make it to the Final Four, but it may take some time before they can fully establish themselves especially with a new coach in charge.
Quote: “This is a big challenge for me. Even though matagal na akong nagko-coach, I feel that this is a big challenge for me dahil matagal na rin hindi nagcha-champion ang UE, and at the same time, they have not made the Final Four in the last four years.” – UE head coach Derrick Pumaren.