UE head coach Derrick Pumaren. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines – University of the East (UE) head coach Derrick Pumaren admits there is something wrong with his team after the Red Warriors lost for the second consecutive game despite forcing their opponents to commit more than 30 turnovers.
The Red Warriors forced De La Salle University and Far Eastern University (FEU) to commit 36 and 31 miscues, respectively, but lost both games after running out of steam in the final quarter.
Against the Tamaraws on Wednesday, UE got off to a fast start, using their press to harass FEU into 11 first-quarter turnovers, and led by as much as 13 points. But when the Tamaraws settled down, the Red Warriors offense dried up and wound up losing 63-73 to drop to 2-2.
"Defensively, we've made teams commit 30 turnovers and still lose the ball game," Pumaren said after the game. "That's amazing."
"There is something wrong with us," he also said.
Pumaren believes that the problem is not with their defense, but in their offense, as players have shown a tendency to look for their shot first instead of establishing plays, he said.
"I'm more concerned with my team right now. I'm not happy with the way we're playing offensively," he said. "There is no team work. We're not playing as team."
"Offensively, we're not playing as a team. There are a lot of forced shots. I think that's the point of concern right now," he added.
UE's struggles have been personified by star point guard Roi Sumang, who shot 1-of-13 against FEU and scored only seven points, most of them coming from the free throw line.
"I think he has to do something about it. He's getting the minutes, he's getting his time, he's getting all the touches," said Pumaren, who was nevertheless quick to emphasize that it was not just Sumang he was worried about.
The Red Warriors looked spectacular in their first two games of the season, but those were played against bottom teams University of the Philippines (UP) and Adamson, who have combined to lose all of their eight games so far.
"They are the lower ranked teams," Pumaren said of UP and Adamson. "As of now, we are still not in the Final Four. And the last four years, we have not made the Final Four."
"They have to make a conscious effort to play as a team," he stressed. "I would say that there are guys in the team that are not playing as a team; they are thinking of themselves first."