ROI Sumang is frank enough to admit that he’s already tired of losing one too many times with the University of the East.
“Sawang-sawa na akong matalo eh, minsan nakakainis na,” said the Red Warriors star.
But after several losing seasons, Sumang and Company may finally see the light at the end of the tunnel after an aggressive buildup initiated by the coaching staff following last season's debacle.
Aside from Sumang, the other holdovers from last year include Adrian Santos and Chris Javier. Returning to the team are Lord Casajeros and John Noble, while among the new boys are transferee Charles Mamie and rookie Mario Bonleon, a former Philippine youth standout.
Sumang actually had a splendid 2012 season with the Warriors that saw him contend for a place in the Mythical Five by averaging 18.4 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and 1.4 steals.
His fine individual play, however, went for naught as the Red Warriors won just three of their 14 games.
Now, the 22-year-old definitely sees a ray of hope for the Warriors.
The Recto-based squad has been making waves in the offseason following their respectable showing in the University Games in Bacolod City.
The Warriors also kicked off their Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup campaign by trouncing Cebu's Southwestern University in the opener.
Sumang praised the coaching staff led by Boyzie Zamar for turning the team around in so short a time.
“Siguro ‘yung mga coaches namin, sobrang galing kaya ganito ang pinapakita namin every game. Sana magtuluy-tuloy hanggang sa UAAP,” he said
Sumang said the boost in confidence can also be seen even in practices.
“Ngayon siguro, lahat lang kami aggressive. Hanggang sa practice, hindi kami nagpapatalo sa isa’t isa kaya siguro ganito ang team namin,” said Sumang.
This early, the Red Warriors are already being billed as a darkhorse in the coming UAAP title race - a tag Sumang was quick to shrug off.
“Hindi ko rin masabi na malakas kami dahil malakas din naman ang ibang teams,” Sumang said.