For several years, the UE Red Warriors became a cellar-dwellar team. There lies the question – how can a once-heavy duty team lose so many games in a season?
One of the answers is the lack of a foreign student-athlete. This year, the team will be frontlined by Alex Adama Diakhite. Along with him there are familiar names – forner Ateneo Blue Eagle John Apacible and sophomore Allan Beltran.
The second reason is the program, which has a lot to do with the management. The last time UE Red Warriors acquired a blue chip was when Philip Manalang entered in Season 78.
Four years from that season, UE has a strong foothold in the rookie recruitment. While they will not play this season, UE Red Warriors was able to sign both Mapua Red Robins standouts – Dan Arches and Clint Escamis. But their biggest get is Gilas Youth member combo guard Harvey Pagsanjan from Hope Christian School.
In the wings, crafty player Neil Tolentino joins the Red Warriors! And of course, the combo of CESAFI standout Rey Suerte and ex-JRU star Jed Mendoza will be key cogs in the line-up.
In hindsight, the line-up is complete. But, UAAP experience might have a huge take this season as we have compact game schedule. But then again, most of them have lots of experience so we’ll never know how this team can break through the seemingly favorites to win the crown
Key Losses: Alvin Pasaol, Lucas Cullar
Key Wins: Harvey Pagsanjan, Alex Adama Diakhite, John Apacible, Rey Suerte
One thing’s for sure, they won’t finish last and this might be the breakout year UE has been waiting for – good for Manalang and Abanto, too, as this means a lot to get their PBA stocks up.
UE will win over: NU
Will have a chance against: DLSU, UP, FEU
No chance against: ADMU, ADU, UST
UE’s strength: good coaching, height, solid front-line, teams don’t know them yet
UE’s weakness: consistency, can they start strong?, can they finish strong?
Photo by: Kath Zamora