FOR University of the East, it’s not a change in game plan but a change in attitude which is needed when the Warriors seek a breakthrough win in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the expense of National University on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Recto-based cagers take on the Bulldogs at 4 p.m. exactly a week after suffering a loss to Far Eastern University Tamaraws to open a season where they have been tagged as one of the title contenders.
Coming off their championship romp in the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup, the Red Warriors were quickly sent crashing back to earth by the Tamaraws following the 89-78 loss.
UE coach Boycie Zamar said it was easy to point out what went wrong for his team.
“Walang disiplina. May determination ba? Wala eh. ‘Yun lang ang in-emphasize ko sa kanila,” he said.
Against the Tamaraws, the Warriors had a five-point halftime lead, but failed to protect it in the second half when their Morayta-based opponents outscored them, 57-41.
“You can’t play for just 20 minutes of the game. You expect na ito na ang tunay na laban,” said Zamar.
The UE coach, however, is eager to see to how the Warriors are going to respond to the loss.
“’Yun ang maganda sa opening game, diyan natin masusukat ‘yung gagawin ng mga bata after coming off a loss,” he said.
Incidentally, the game against the Bulldogs marks the rematch between the two teams that fought for the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup title.
Unlike the Warriors, the Bulldogs are coming off a rousing 64-54 victory over five-time defending champion Ateneo to start off their Season 76 campaign on a winning note.
NU coach Eric Altamirano, whose team is eyeing to tie the Tamaraws for a share of the early lead, expects another challenging game against the Warriors since their preseason title showdown.
Altamirano hopes to put the clamps on high-scoring guard Roi Sumang and big man Charles Mammie, who did the damage for the Red Warriors during their Filoil encounter.
“UE really outplayed us in the finals of the Filoil,” Altamirano said. “Sumang was able to assert himself. So that’s one of the things that we are going to look at, as well as the domination of Mammie inside.”
In the first game, University of Santo Tomas and Adamson clash at 2 p.m. as both teams aim to remain unbeaten.
The Tigers opened their season with great poise, beating La Salle Green Archers in overtime, 63-58, in last week’s opener.
The Falcons were also victorious in their first game of the season after downing University of the Philippines, 79-67.