UNIVERSITY of the East coach Boyzie Zamar was quick to remind his team the UAAP is the real thing.
Shortly after the Warriors absorbed a 78-89 loss to Far Eastern University Tamaraws in the opener of Season 76, Zamar reiterated that their pre-season championship celebration is over.
“Ito reality na ito,” he said. “I don't want to make any alibis, but this is a reminder to them (players) that this (UAAP) is the reality. Their feet should be brought back to the ground.”
The Warriors were easily tagged among the favorites for this year’s championship following their successful title campaign in the Filoil Flying V Premier Cup pre-season tournament.
At the onset, the Warriors played true to their potential and led by as much as 37-26, late in third period only to inexplicably collapse in the final quarter and allowed the Tams to take control of the game.
The Morayta-based squad pulled away from a tied 50-50 contest behind a huge 15-4 run to seal their victory.
“Not just a wake-up call but this is a warning call,” said Zamar. “Porke’t tagged as contenders na kami, we should put things behind us."
In a way, Zamar also felt the eligibility issue surrounding UE import Charles Mammie also affected the team as the UAAP board held an emergency meeting hours before the season opener to discuss if the Warriors’ big man would be allowed to play.
Mammie eventually was given the go-signal to suit up.
“Isang factor 'yun (Mammie's eligibility), but as a coach I have to prepare my team,” he said.
But Zamar assured the Warriors will bounce back in their next game on Saturday against National University in a rematch of their Filoil Flying V Premier Cup pre-season Finals.
“But anyway this is just one game,” he said. “We are one as a team, we will bounce back.”