Bottom teams play catch up as UAAP basketball 2nd round starts | Inquirer Sports

Bottom teams play catch up as UAAP basketball 2nd round starts

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 11:55 PM October 07, 2016

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

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

With the University of the East Red Warriors down in the pits, coach Derrick Pumaren figures it’s going to be tough to find a way to motivate his players.

“It’s difficult to make your players believe if you’re down in the standings,” said Pumaren as the Warriors begin their second-round campaign in UAAP Season 79 against the UST Growling Tigers today at the Mall of Asia Arena.

“It’s going to be hard to motivate them,” he added.

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The Warriors, however, are starting to believe in themselves after they saw a ray of hope in that stunning 64-57 upset over the Adamson Falcons, a breakthrough win after losing their first six games.

Power forward RR De Leon and Alvin Pasaol have become more aggressive of late as well as guard Philip Manalang, who came through against the Falcons.

“I don’t have to score. My job is to hustle more and create opportunities for my teammates,” said De Leon in Filipino.

But while UE has regained its confidence, the once ferocious Tigers have lost its fangs after closing out the first round with two wins following back-to-back setbacks opposite the National U Bulldogs and the Far Eastern U Tamaraws.

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The Tigers will be needing more stops from big men Kent Lao, Jeepy Faundo and Zach Huang as well as production from Louie Vigil, Henri Subido and Dean Lee on the other end.

Currently experiencing the same dilemma are the University of the Philippines Maroons, who nearly pulled off an unexpected reversal of the Bulldogs and Tamaraws before catching misfortune at the most crucial time to end up with an identical record with the Warriors.

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The Maroons are again anticipated to play inspired ball against the Ateneo Blue Eagles in their 4 p.m. encounter, where UP’s 79-64 defeat in the first round left a bad taste in the mouth.

The Eagles, locked in a three-way 4-3 tie with the Bulldogs and Falcons, will try to rebound from a recent 16-point debacle against arch nemesis La Salle.

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“We just have to improve ourselves and continue to work at those things that we know are not our strengths,” said Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin. “We have to turn our weaknesses into strengths.”

TAGS: UAAP, UE Red Warriors

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