UAAP: ‘Hungrier’ UE Red Warriors excited to parade new recruits
MANILA, Philippines — University of the East coach Jack Santiago can’t wait to see what his new recruits can offer when the host team kicks off its campaign against the University of Santo Tomas in the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament opener on Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena.
Despite losing the core of the Red Warriors last season, Santiago is elated with his retooled roster with key additions Devin Fikes and Jack Cruz-Dumont teaming up with holdovers Noy Remogat and Abdul Sawat.
“I would say we are so excited because the recruited players, they are all eligible already,” said Santiago. “But we cannot just take it easy because other teams also recruited players and they’re doing good also.”
“All the teams prepared very well, especially this off-season. Many of our teams went outside the country. As this year’s host, we will try to do our best to give our school and the community a good season,” he added.
The Red Warriors parted ways with brothers Nikko and Kyle Paranada, Gani Stevens, and PBA rookie Luis Villegas.
But the UE coach, in his third season, is confident with his current wards, who are hungry to rise from a sixth-place finish last year with a 5-9 record.
“I see my players they’re hungrier than last year. Hopefully, we will come out with a good season this year,” Santiago said. “We all know that we lost a lot of players last season but we were able to fill in those voids with new recruits.”
“We’re doing a lot of changes now to maximize our new players. Of course, the bottom line here is we need to play as a team,” he added.
The Red Warriors will be tested against the Growling Tigers, who welcomed back veteran coach Pido Jarencio after 10 years, as their school kicks off their hosting festivities at 12 noon before their game.