IT'S been close to three years now since University of the East last scored a win, and Harvey Pagsanjan was simply overwhelmed by emotions as the Red Warriors pulled off a 58-50 win over Arellano University on Wednesday in the Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup.
"Sobrang pasalamat ko lang kasi nanalo na kami," he said as he struggled to hold back his tears.
See UE Red Warriors score a win at Arellano Chiefs' expense
Pagsanjan has been through a lot since moving to Recto, enduring the highs of the Rey Suerte-led Red Warriors back in 2019 as a rookie, to the miserable 0-14 run in UAAP Season 84.
"Very emotional si Harvey kasi every practice namin, binibigay namin sa kanya yung responsibility," said coach Jack Santiago.
"I know it's hard for him because si Harvey, kahit anong sabihin natin we still consider him as a rookie pa rin. And when he got to UE, bata pa siya nun. So kami as coaches, binibigay namin sa kanya lahat ng suporta to be a better player."
Despite all of those heartbreaks, Pagsanjan has kept his composure, helping keep the Red Warriors fighting.
UE coach Santiago is convinced the win is no fluke.
And on Wednesday, the light at the end of the tunnel was finally reached with the 6-foot guard anchoring his squad with nine points, five rebounds, and two assists. in UE's first win since Oct. 30, 2019.
Pagsanjan says all of the credit goes to the coaches who have been there for the players through thick and thin.
"Yung every day sa training namin na process, yung patience ng mga coaches namin, sobrang halaga sa amin. Yun ang nagmo-motivate sa amin," he said.
Santiago is convinced it's no fluke.
"Hopefully yung game na ito nagising na si Harvey and he realized na kaya niyang mag-compete," he said.
"Right now, we're a work-in-progress. Masaya lang dito is nakikita ko yung response ng mga bata. Yung depensa na ini-instill namin, hindi natin ito makukuha ng overnight. We have a lot of rookies at bagong players na dapat makuha yung system but we still have two months to prepare for UAAP Season 85."
Pagsanjan, too, feels the same way as he sees this as UE's first step back to relevance.
"Ever since nangyari yung last season, ang dami pa rin nagstay at sinasabihan kami na marami pang games para makabawi. Kahit ganoon ang nangyari sa amin, marami pa ring nagtitiwala sa amin na kayang ibalik yung winning culture sa UE," he said.