Fil-foreign studs reinforce Red Warriors

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
Fil-foreign studs reinforce Red Warriors
From left: UE assistant coach LA Revilla, Hunter Cruz-Dumont, head coach Jack Santiago and Jack Cruz-Dumont.
Photo release

MANILA, Philippines – The UE Red Warriors are keeping up with the top guns in the offseason recruitment wars in the UAAP, securing the commitments of four Filipino-foreign talents on Friday.

Head coach Jack Santiago added Fil-Canadians Devin Fikes, brothers Hunder and Jack Cruz-Dumont, and Fil-Am Ethan Galang to backstop the Red Warriors program.

In UAAP Season 85, the UE men's basketball team looked revitalized as they competed for the Final Four under the leadership of Fil-Ams Luis Villegas, and CJ Payawal.

With the one-and-done players both out of Recto, Santiago hopes that his new acquisitions will have the same impact.

"We're elated to add these young players to what we're building here in UE. After our promising campaign last season, we have high hopes moving forward and we believe that these four can only boost our chances in competing against our peers in the UAAP," said Santiago.

Fikes recently impressed in the 2023 Smart-NBTC National Finals, where he helped Toronto to Division 1 and fell just short of the semifinals.

The 19-year-old also competed in the NBTC All-Star Game.

In the national tournament, he averaged 12.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.3 blocks in 28 minutes.

Fikes can play for UE already in UAAP Season 86 and will have his full five playing years.

The Cruz-Dumont brothers, meanwhile, are the sons of the late Jack Dumont, who played for the Pasig Pirates in the defunct MBA and are now based in Vancouver, Canada.

Jack, 22, is 6-foot-2 and averaged 5.6 points on 31-percent shooting from deep, to go with 4.3 assists and 3.5 boards in 26.1 minutes for University of British Columbia this past season.
The 20-year-old Hunter, for his part, stands at 6-foot-5 and netted 2.9 points on 38% shooting from beyond the arc in 7.7 minutes of play with Simon Fraser.

Jack has two playing years and can play immediately in Season 86, while Hunter has four years of eligibility but will have to redshirt before being able to play by Season 87.

The other recruit, 22-year-old Galang, is a 6-foot-2 shooter from Chino Hills, California. He averaged seven points, 2.5 boards, 2.3 steals, and 1.3 dimes for the Life Pacific University.

Like Jack, Galang has two playing years for the Red Warriors beginning in Season 86.

The arrival of the quartet is a big shot in the arm for the Red Warriors, who also welcomed American reinforcement Delvion Jackson, a 6-foot-8 center who will play his lone year in this coming campaign.

UE is looking to stay competitive even after the graduation of Villegas, Payawal and Nikko Paranada, as well as the departures of Harvey Pagsanjan and Gani Stevens.

It will still have holdovers like Kyle Paranada and upstart playmaker Noy Remogat.

The Red Warriors will begin their buildup for the collegiate season in the upcoming 2023 Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup.

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