DISAPPOINTMENT was obviously written all over the face of University of the East coach Derrick Pumaren shortly after the Red Warriors came a win short of making the UAAP Final Four on Saturday.
The Warriors unleashed a vicious fourth quarter run against National University behind veteran guard Roi Sumang, but unfortunately, lost steam in the end of their playoff against the Bulldogs for the last semis, 51-49.
Bong Galanza missed a potential game-winning three-point shot in the dying seconds of the thrilling match to the consternation of the Warriors’ fans at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“That was a play for Bong,” Pumaren said, explaining the team’s last play that saw Galanza shook off Glen Khobuntin to get a wide-open look from beyond the arc.
“I think we were able to execute it, but Bong just wasn’t able to nail the shot.”
The loss marked the fifth straight season UE failed to make the Final Four.
Galanza, the team’s leading scorer this season, ended his final year with the team on a sad note after finishing with just nine points on a frigid 4-of-17 shooting from the field.
Pumaren felt the Warriors weren’t able to adjust well to his system, considering that he came on board only last April 15.
Although the veteran coach slowly introduced his philosophy in the team’s campaign during the Fil-Oil Flying V Hanes Premier Camp, Pumaren said that may not be enough to squeeze everything to his players.
“We didn’t start out well (in the season) because maybe, I came on board a little bit late, like April 15. Then, we played right away in the Fil-Oil. And they got adjusted to the system second round na,” explained Pumaren, who played for the Warriors during the late 70s.
Still, Pumaren believes this season offered a lot of lessons that his players can learn as they try to bounce back strong next year.
“I think disappointed, yes. Because I think we should be there (Final Four). With the way we played and with that big run we made (in the second half) and the last-ditch effort we made, it just wasn’t meant to be,” he said.
“We just have to get all the positive things that happened this season and carry it next season.”