UNIVERSITY of the East coach Derrick Pumaren admitted it is difficult asking players to keep faith in the system when they are struggling, and is mighty glad the Warriors have gotten over the hump.
Pumaren noted the Warriors continued to believe even in defeat, and they used a heartbreaking loss to La Salle as motivation to get back and claim their first win at the expense of Adamson.
“We used the second half as a springboard kasi that is the one thing na positive sa amin, when you are down 0-6, it’s going to be hard to motivate the players," said Pumaren.
"Mahirap mo sila paniwalain but we were able to use that as a positive.”
RR de Leon also continued to work hard even as the Warriors struggled, eager to pay back the coach’s faith.
“Siguro ’yung motivation at trust lang ni coach sa akin, nagpapasalamat ako sa kanya,” said De Leon.
Against Adamson, the Red Warriors got a huge game from De Leon who came up with a 12-point performance, eight coming in the second half.
The 23-year-old’s performance is welcome news for UE as De Leon was only averaging 3.3 points and 2.3 rebounds for the Red Warriors prior to the Adamson game.
“Nakita nyo naman na past few games, halos hindi ako masyadong nagagamit kasi ang hinahanap ni coah sa akin is ‘yung hustle. I don’t need to score, ang sabi lang niya sa akin, defense, hustle, at box out sa mga imports,” said De Leon.
De Leon said he found his comfort zone and playing against La Salle and Green Archers sensation Ben Mbala was a big reason he was able to get into the groove. The Red Warriors hanged tough against the Green Archers before falling, 84-78.
“Medyo late ako naka-adjust. Sa La Salle pa ako nakapag-adjust tapos ngayon,” said De Leon.