UNIVERSITY of the East spent more than an hour inside the locker room after suffering its fourth straight loss at the hands of the University of the Philippines, 75-71, in the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tournament on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
But Red Warriors coach Derrick Pumaren clarified he didn't give his wards a mouthful despite the loss.
“No, hindi naman sila pinagalitan, we just told them that we should have the heart that we refuse to lose,” he said. “We just didn’t see it tonight, we lost four games that are winnable, we still were not able to close out games but we just have to stay positive and that was my message to them."
However, Pumaren also pointed out to his team what went wrong in their game against the Maroons. UE entered the fourth quarter with a one point lead, 67-66, but only scored four points in the final period and committed a couple of miscues which UP took advantage of.
“I think it’s more of playing smart, taking bad shots in the end,” said Pumaren on the cause of their loss. “We forced ourselves (to shoot outside), I mean, they (UP) were already in penalty but still we are still forcing three-point shots.”
“We are not a three-point shooting team, we are not shooting well from the three point area, they’re in the penalty, I mean, it doesn’t need an Einstein to figure it out they just have to take the ball to the hoop but they didn’t do it,” he added.
The veteran mentor encouraged his wards to play like they used to during the pre-season and in practice.
“From game one, we have not played with confidence, we have not played our game, I have not seen the team that I am expecting to play this season and that is the sad part,” he said. “We lost four games na dapat nanalo, pero sabi ko nga, still, sa win and loss column it doesn’t say na ‘four na sayang’ it’s still zero (wins) and four (losses).”
“Yes, definitely, it’s a different team that played in the pre-season, it’s a different team that played in Guam when we were invited to play in the Guam Invitational Tournament and that is what disappoints me,” Pumaren added.
Still, Pumaren closed the huddled with words of encouragement to lift up the low morale of his team.
“It’s my job to encourage them, I told them that we have to stay positive but they should also motivate themselves, they have to believe in themselves that they are a better than what we are in the standings right now,” he said.