CHRIS Javier sees a bright future for Clark Derige, who is set to take over the University of the East frontcourt next year.
The Warriors’ top big man for years, Javier leaves after this season confident the UE frontcourt is in good hands.
“Proud ako sa kanya bilang teammate,” said Javier of his 6-foot-3 teammate Derige. “Lagi ko sinasabi na ituloy lang niya ‘yung ginagawa niya kasi nag-eextra (practice) siya.”
A player from Quirino province, Derige was discovered playing for Cagayan Valley in the Palarong Pambansa, languished in the Far Eastern University Team B before making the UE pool as a walk-on.
Derige has turned into a key player for the Red Warriors, averaging 8.2 points in a season highlighted by a career-best 26-point game.
The 21-year-old forward also topscored for the Warriors with 17 points in a win over Ateneo on Saturday.
UE coach Derrick Pumaren said Derige is an important piece for the Red Warriors this season since he has an all-around game.
“He is giving us a big lift. He is a stretch four and we want the other teams to go out and defend him,” said Pumaren.
Derige said he is ready to take on the challenge of taking on a bigger role next season.
“Tina-take advantage ko lang ’yung binibigay na playing time sa akin. Kumukuha rin ako ng kumpiyansa sa tiwalang binibigay ni coach sa akin. Ginagawa ko lang ‘yung maitutulong ko sa team,” said the soft-spoken Derige.