INQUIRER.NET

Pumaren thinks also-ran UE ‘could’ve done more’

UE head coach Derrick Pumaren. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

University of the East has been one of the most surprising teams in the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament.

From “Manong” Derrick Pumaren’s flashy outfits, to Alvin Pasaol’s scoring exploits and the Red Warriors’ late resurgence, UE has produced a lot of fireworks this year.

But despite making noise, Pumaren said the Red Warriors could’ve done more after getting booted out of Final Four contention on Sunday.

“I think we could’ve done more, we could’ve done better with the way we played,” said Pumaren Sunday after losing to Far Eastern University, 79-63.

“But I’m actually proud with how the boys played.”

The Red Warriors walked out of Smart Araneta Coliseum with a 3-10 record, but they had their moments.

UE beat UST, 96-91, to register its first victory in the tournament and won two more games in a span of three playing days to get to 3-7 and make itself a Final Four threat.

The Red Warriors’ chances, though, went down the drain when the Tamaraws gave them third straight loss.

“Despite the odds we’ve faced, we don’t have an import, my players gave it their all,” said Pumaren in Filipino. 

And as Pumaren and the Red Warriors prepare to bid adieu to their season, he can’t help but have a soft spot for his burly forward Pasaol.

UE’s talisman produced the highest-scoring individual performance in recent memory when he dropped 49 points in their 106-100 loss to defending champion De La Salle. 

“Of course there’s Alvin’s 49 points, I’m proud with the way he played because his true potential came out this season and I personally recruited him,” said Pumaren. 

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