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UE Warriors hard-pressed to outwork opponents

MANILA, Philippines – When you look at the University of the East Red Warriors, you have to wonder what happened to this team. Whatever glimmer of hope that appeared on the horizon since Derrick Pumaren came on board has dissipated.

They started out with the promise brought about their African players then went All-Filipino. Several players transferred to other schools — Gino Jumao-as, Fran Yu, Bonbon Batiller, Edgar Charcos and Joshua Gonzales to name a few — hurting the team’s chances. Batiller’s departure says something as he was the first recruit by Pumaren when he came on board.

Were they able to acquire any replacement killers? Mark Olayon, who first came up during Boycie Zamar’s time, was even brought back.

They simply aren’t what they used to be. You get the feeling that they will just try to be physical with opponents, keep the game close and try to fashion out a win in the end.

Oh, they will compete as they still have Alvin Pasaol, but that’s it. If Clark Derige and Olayon also catch fire simultaneously with Pasaol then they have a big chance.

However, you do not want to take the Red Warriors lightly. They are dangerous. They will lull you into a false sense of sleep then zap you.

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The keys to a UE win will involve their trap, physicality and their willingness to outwork an opponent.

That last key is perhaps the most important – outwork. They have players like Nick Abanto, Shannon Gagate, Andrey Armenion and Philip Manalang, who will flat out leave everything on the floor. You cannot question their heart.

UE is a bunch of undersized kids who will try to overwhelm you with their physicality and relentlessness. They might be blown out but you’d think they’re in the fight because that is their identity. They are team that will not give up. And sometimes, that is all you ever ask from a team.

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