UNIVERSITY of the East coach Boycie Zamar declined to blame the suspensions issued by UAAP officials for their failure to make it to the Final Four, saying the pre-tournament favorite's campaign all boiled down to maturity - or more preciely the lack of it.
Zamar admitted that the loss of Charles Mammie, Lord Casajeros, and Ralf Olivares to suspensions was huge for the team held no rancor against league officials, insisting that it was the violations that led to those bans that hurt the team.
“I give it back to the players,” Zamar said as he emerged from the dugout shortly after the loss to Ateneo on sunday. “But the players have to realize, ang laki laki, masakit na, mahal pa ‘yung tuition na binayad namin para sila matuto … You can’t do those emotions.
“Sabi ko, nag-suffer ‘yung team, nag-suffer lahat. I hope they realize that. Again, it boils down to maturity and mental toughness,” Zamar added.
The Red Warriors, whose stock rose after winning the preseason Filoil Cup, went on a four-game winning run at one point to enter the Final Four frame but tumbled out of contention just as fast with the loss of their last four matches.
A big reason for UE missing the Final Four was the absence of Mammie for a total of two games due to suspensions this season.
“Charles Mammie is Charles Mammie. He has his egos but he has his rebounds. Siyempre, Charles Mammie has to manage his egos,” Zamar said.
Zamar said UE could've achieved bigger things with a consistently complete lineup.
“Lumalalim ‘yung bench namin kapag kumpleto kami, hindi katulad last year na hanggang anim lang kami,” said Zamar.
The UE coach, however, remained optimistic about the future.
“They are being prepared for a bigger battle. Remember, these players were losers. Seventh place kami, they are not used to this. These are the things na kailangan nilang i-value,” Zamar.
“Ganun talaga ang buhay. Llamado, dehado, you just have to fight,” said Zamar.