IF University of the East wants to enter the Final Four of Season 77 of the UAAP men’s basketball tournament, the Red Warriors better start winning games.
And they should start playing well, too.
With the top tier teams winning games over the weekend, the Warriors (5-5) found themselves in a precarious situation in their bid for a semifinal berth, the host team now two games behind third placers National University and Ateneo (7-3) and out of the Final Four.
The Warriors last made it to the Final Four behind a team led by Raino Shine star Paul Lee, which made it as far as the 2009 championship series only to lose against champion Ateneo.
Coach Derrick Pumaren said he is hoping the Red Warriors will play better than they did in a win over Adamson on Sunday, 72-59, in a game that saw them overcome a slow start.
If the Warriors don’t change the way they play soon, Pumaren believes the team won’t advanced past the eliminations.
“We can’t play the way we played (against Adamson),” said Pumaren. “If that’s the way we play against the top teams, I guess we have to kiss the season goodbye.”
Against Adamson, Pumaren thinks the Warriors took the Falcons for granted.
“With the position we have right now, we can’t take any teams lightly. I don’t think the guys were ready to play Adamson. They didn’t play hard especially at the start. Adamson was 0-9 but there’s always a first time,” said Pumaren.
UE begins its final push for a berth in the semis against NU on Sunday and Pumaren remains optimistic about his team’s chances, although he cautioned that the Red Warriors will have to play every game like it's their last.
“As I told the team, we still have a shot. We still have a chance. We are still in the hunt for the Final Four but we have to play a lot better,” said Pumaren.
“For us, it’s like the start of the season because we have to work our way up now. It starts right now.”