AFTER back-to-back wins over lightweights to start the season, University of the East clashes with defending champion La Salle on Sunday in the UAAP Season 77 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Red Warriors opened the season with victory over lowly University of the Philippines then downed Adamson before taking an eight-day break.
While the Red Warriors started with back-to-back wins against the minnows, the Green Archers suffered two straight losses against title contenders before getting their first win at the expense of NU, 57-55. La Salle bowed to FEU on opening weekend before losing to archrival Ateneo the following week.
The Warriors and Archers face off at 4 p.m.
Even though the Green Archers are in sixth spot in the standings, UE coach Derrick Pumaren said the game will determine whether the Red Warriors are a playoff team, reiterating that they have yet to prove anything by beating teams in the ‘lower half’ of the league.
“Nothing against UP and Adamson, but these are teams in the lower half. Our test was supposed to be against UST (two weeks ago) but because of the cancellation of games, our big test now will be on Sunday where we will be playing the defending champion La Salle,” Pumaren said.
Still, the two wins over the lowly squads have put UE in a good spot on the leaderboard early in the season.
“I like our position but, as I told the boys, we haven’t proved anything. We still have to earn the respect and still come out and ready to play every team,” said Pumaren.