In preseason tourney, an end to UE’s winless spell
No one would have thought that when University of the East (UE) edged the National University Bulldogs, 79-77, in Season 82 of the UAAP, there would be a three-year gap before the Red Warriors would win again.
A pandemic break and a winless season stretched the distance between victories. On Wednesday, that drought came to an end.
“We had four good practices last week; I told the boys it’s going to be a different game today,” said head coach Jack Santiago, after claiming his maiden win, 58-50, against the Arellano Chiefs in the Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup in San Juan City.
Santiago, who only coached for two games last UAAP season because of a suspension, hoped that this win would signify a new chapter in his coaching tenure with the squad.
“It was traumatic when we lost 14 consecutive games last season; we worked to erase that experience every day. Hopefully, this win would be the start of better things to come,” he said in Filipino. The Red Warriors (1-3) were led by Nico Paranada’s 17 points and four steals, while Harvey Pagsanjan and Calvin Payawal scored nine points each.
It was a gritty game for both teams, with none scoring over 20 points in each of the four quarters. Arellano (0-4) also shot terribly in all areas, making a ghastly 26 percent from the field, while nailing only 53 percent of its foul line shots; the Chiefs also scored only five points in the third period.
This victory ends UE’s run of 18 straight losses, with Santiago claiming that Arellano had also beaten them in a tune-up match before entering this tournament.
Before UE ended their losing streak, the Lyceum Pirates (3-0) clipped the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Tigers (1-1), 83-73.The Tigers seized command early via a 23-10 start but couldn’t sustain the charge against the relentless Pirates.
“I actually got mad in the first half, because I told my players to follow the game plan. UST’s lead grew because we didn’t follow the game plan,” Lyceum coach Gilbert Malabanan said in Filipino. —CONTRIBUTED