A NEW era begins for University of the East as Boyzie Zamar calls the shots for the Warriors against De La Salle when the two teams collide on Saturday in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Warriors are looking to give Zamar a win in his coaching comeback with the school after a nine-year absence. He took the place of former teammate Jerry Codinera, who has since been appointed sports consultant.
Zamar last handled UE in 2003 when the Warriors lost in the Final Four against eventual champion Far Eastern University Tamaraws of coach Koy Banal.
Meanwhile, defending champion Ateneo hopes to tighten its hold on the solo lead when it battles lowly University of the Philippines in the second game.
Zamar admitted there’s no quick cure for the slumping campaign of the 1-6 Warriors, who are coming off a 48-63 loss to the previously winless Maroons.
“Given na ‘yan na malakas ang La Salle,” said Zamar. “What we need to do is find solutions within ourselves. Kalaban nila ang sarili nila. What I want to do is motivate them.”
The Archers hope to ride the momentum of their 87-86 double overtime win over National University Bulldogs last August 18.
The Green Archers are right in the middle of the pack with a 4-3 win-loss record, a position which head coach Gee Abanilla is happy to be in.
“We achieved the goal of being right with the leaders. I’m very happy that we finally beat a seeded team and we hope to build on this,” said Abanilla.
On the other hand, the 6-1 Eagles found themselves alone at the top after University of Santo Tomas fell against FEU on Thursday night, 60-87.
“We are right where we want to be which is in the top two spots,” said Ateneo coach Norman Black. “It is a big advantage in the UAAP to have the twice-to-beat in the semifinals.”
“We do have a blemish in our record, but at the same time, we have a better position in the first round,” Black added.