MANILA — University of the East may have fallen short of entering the UAAP Season 86 Men’s Basketball Final Four, but head coach Jack Santiago is already looking ahead into their campaign next year.
The Noy Remogat-starred squad, who ended the season as the sixth-best team after a 4-10 record, will only have one graduating player in Abdul Sawat, meaning that his team will remain relatively intact in 2024.
The Red Warriors will be welcoming new players next season, which is why Santiago is optimistic about what they are building over in Recto.
“Next season will be an exciting season for us,” he said following their game against the Adamson Soaring Falcons on Sunday. “We have a lot of incoming players. In the meantime, I cannot tell you those names ‘cause it’s unfair sa ibang mga players namin.”
The former Adamson assistant coach also shared that the Red Warriors will be starting their practices in February 2024 as they start to intricately form the squad that may finally end their more-than-a-decade Final Four drought.
“Come February, ‘yun yung start ng practice namin. It’s going to be a healthy competition to those players na dadating,” Santiago said.
“Yung sa slot ni Abdul Sawat, definitely magkakaroon kami ng changes doon. Of course, we’re gonna sit down with the management and the coaches too para dun sa other recruits namin,” he added.
“To be honest, siguro one or two players na additional? Then it’s gonna be a good team already.”
Adding to this is how the former PBA assistant mentor expects his holdovers to step up more and improve both their on-court skills and off-the-court leadership.
“Hopefully, those players na medyo bata pa, ma-convert natin by next season na ma-develop yung strength and confidence level nila,” said Santiago.
“Hopefully, ma-change natin yung culture. Yung team namin by next year, mga beterano na.”