Red Warriors emerging as unlikely contenders in UAAP Season 78
Less is expected from University of the East this 78th Season of the UAAP with the departure of its core players Roi Sumang, Charles Mammie and Bong Gallanza.
But through three games, the Red Warriors have given their school and faithfuls hope.
“Their prediction is that we’re a 0-14 team this year,” said UE guard Von Batiller, a rookie transferee from Holy Trinity College of General Santos City, in Filipino. “But coach told us to respond from what people are saying by showing what we can do on the court.”
Batiller has been the biggest revelation for UE and he is also one of the main reasons why the Red Warriors are having early success in the season with a 2-1 record.
The 21-year-old Batiller is among the league-leaders in scoring through three games averaging 21 points per game. And what’s more impressive is scoring is only part of the package.
Part of his 23-point performance in an 89-78 win over Adamson on Wednesday is eight assists, six steals and only one turnover in 27 minutes of action. He also scored 23 in an upset of defending champion National University last Saturday.
He has emerged as UE’s main man even if he refuses to call himself such.
“As coach said, we don’t have any go-to-guy on the team. Whoever’s playing well, we’ll continue to go to him,” Batiller said.
Despite the surprising start, UE still has a lot to prove and it has another opportunity to make a point three days from now when it takes on Kiefer Ravena and Ateneo.
UE head coach Derrick Pumaren said his players are extra motivated heading into their game against the Blue Eagles, the only team that the Warriors didn’t beat last year.
“We haven’t beaten Ateneo. That’s the only team we haven’t beaten last year. I think the boys are looking forward to that game,” Pumaren said.
“I’m excited because it’s Ateneo. It’s one of the most popular university’s in the country and as coach said we didn’t beat Ateneo last season. We really need to prepare hard for that game,” Batiller said.
Pumaren hopes the team will be able to carry over its momentum on Saturday.
“There’s going to be a big crowd and hopefully the wins have built our confidence that they can play with the other teams. I do believe that we can compete and we just have to keep working hard and keep playing our game.”UAAP Season 78 men’s basketball standings | Create infographics