MANILA, Philippines – Coach Derrick Pumaren is not yet pushing the panic button even after University of the East (UE) dropped its fourth consecutive game in the UAAP Season 80 tournament, a 65-83 setback to Ateneo de Manila University.
Alvin Pasaol broke out a shooting slump, scoring 22 points, but only one other UE player finished in double-digits and the Red Warriors had no answers once the Blue Eagles clamped down on defense in the final frame.
After four games, the Red Warriors find themselves tied at the bottom of the league standings with identical 0-4 slates. UE's average margin of defeat stands at 13.75 points per game.
"I must say na hindi naman panic," said Pumaren after their loss to Ateneo on Sunday.
Yet he was quick to add that the Red Warriors need to turn their season around sooner rather than later.
"If we want to have a better performance this season, we have to make our move," he said emphatically. "It seems like we have to play with a sense of urgency, because we're 0-4, and we're playing the top teams."
UE wraps up its first round against Adamson University on October 1, De La Salle University on October 4, and University of Santo Tomas on October 7.
"We just have to get our acts together," said Pumaren.
The key, according to the veteran coach, is for the Red Warriors to start playing as a team, instead of relying on only one player. Against Ateneo, it was Pasaol who tried to shoot them back into the contest, while in previous games they relied on Clark Derige.
Unfortunately for UE, their main guys – Derige, Pasaol, Mark Olayon and even young guard Mark Maloles – have yet to click together.
"We need a total team effort, and that's what we don't have right now," admitted Pumaren.
"We're not playing as a team," Pumaren also said. "We run away from what we're doing. Puro kami dribble, doon kami nagkaka-problema."
"Hopefully, we play with a sense of urgency, because it's a tough schedule for us, next week on Wednesday and Saturday," he added.
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.