UNIVERSITY of the East coach Boycie Zamar was quick to shrug off notions the Warriors should be one of the favorites in the coming UAAP basketball season after their title romp on Wednesday in the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup.
Zamar stressed the championship in the preseason tournament will be a boost to the confidence of a team that had not contended for a UAAP championship in years, but wouldn't go as far as consider the Red Warriors a legitimate contender for the title.
“I don’t believe so,” said Zamar when asked about UE's title chances in the UAAP after the Red Warriors' 81-68 title win over former champion National University on Wednesday at The Arena in San Juan.
“Kung sa Latin honors, Filoil is the cum laude. Hindi pa kami umaabot sa magna and suma. ‘Yung sa amin, we just want to improve,” Zamar said.
The Filoil success completed UE’s renaissance from one of the minnows in the college game to possibly among the teams to watch this season. The Warriors finished in seventh place in Season 75 of the UAAP.
The title came 17 days before the UAAP opener, and Zamar said the Warriors will use the break to prepare and improve more.
“Of course, we are going to celebrate this win. But tomorrow, we have to go back to basics,” Zamar said.
Even with the championship, Zamar said there won’t be added pressure on UE’s part, even suggesting that he prefers to feel the pressure during times of success.
“Even sa seventh place, may pressure din eh. We'd rather have the pressure upstairs. Maraming pressure, sa taas, sa gitna. Kapag sa baba, delikado. I would rather have the pressure upstairs,” said Zamar, hired by UE midway through last season to take over the coaching reins from Jerry Codinera.
The Warriors will begin their season against Far Eastern University Tamaraws on June 29 at the Mall of Asia Arena.