Poor preseason record no dampener as UE starting to play 'the right way,' says Pumaren
Derrick Pumaren will be relying a lot on Alvin Pasaol. "This is his team right now," says the UE Red Warriors coach. Jerome Ascano

UNIVERSITY of the East coach Derrick Pumaren remained optimistic about the Red Warriors preparations for the coming UAAP wars despite finishing with a losing record in the Filoil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup.

The Red Warriors recorded a 3-5 win-loss record in the Filoil preseason tournament, ending their campaign with a win over Letran last week. But two of the victories came from UAAP teams Ateneo and University of Santo Tomas, which gave Pumaren hope that the Red Warriors are right on track and are starting to show the cohesion he seeks.

"We've got a lot of things to work on. I must say that we are slowly getting the right feel, the right way to play, and getting to know each other," said Pumaren.

"As you can see, we are moving the ball a lot better in our last three to four games. Even in the other tournament that we are playing in TIP (EDQ preseason), I'm happy with the way the boys are playing right now," said Pumaren.

Alvin Pasaol has been the cornerstone of the Red Warriors this preseason, with fellow veteran Mark Olayon giving UE ceiling in the wing position.

"He (Pasaol) is our main man. This is his team right now. We've got guys how have been holding their own. Olayon has really stepped up after a one-year absence. I think he has given us that needed height sa wing to match up with the other teams," he added.

More than the play of the veterans, Pumaren said UE's brave showing despite not having a complete lineup during games only makes him more confident they are heading in the right direction.

"I think because we didn't have a complete lineup sa first five games, parating may na-iinjure. But I'm happy we have been playing well. We are right on schedule," said Pumaren.

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