UNIVERSITY of the East coach Derrick Pumaren played down an altercation between two of his players during a 63-80 loss to Southwestern University on Sunday in the Cebu leg of the Filoil preseason tournament.
Pumaren confirmed there was a “misunderstanding” between Charles Mammie and Chris Javier during the Red Warriors’ match at the Hoops Dome in Lapu-Lapu City but he refused to elaborate, only saying that they were trailing at halftime and the incident was a result of the players "wanting to win the game."
SWU improved its win-loss record to 5-1, but UE failed to advance to the next round with a 3-3 card.
“It was only a heat of the moment (thing),” said Pumaren, when asked about the incident. “It was a misunderstanding. They wanted to win.”
A source who witnessed the incident, however, said Mammie and Javier needed to be separated by their teammates following an exchange of words during halftime.
The source added Pumaren was furious but told his players to settle the incident by themselves. It was then that Mammie and Javier ironed things out.
The loss ended the Red Warriors’ title defense in the preseason tournament, but Pumaren still expressed satisfaction with how the players have responded to his system in just a short period of time since he took over the reins from Boycie Zamar.
“We will have a lot of tune-up games, scrimmages, and team building in order for us to learn to play as a team. It’s a work in progress. But one good thing about our campaign is that they are now embracing the system,” said Pumaren.