Coach stays positive amid UE's 3-game slide
MANILA, Philippines – University of the East (UE) head coach Boycie Zamar is still hopeful about his squad’s chances of making the Final Four even though the Red Warriors are in the midst of a three-game slide in the UAAP Season 76 men’s basketball tournament.
The Red Warriors lost consecutive games to Far Eastern University (FEU), National University (NU) and De La Salle. The FEU and La Salle losses were particularly painful, as they were just one free throw away from potentially clinching the win.
UE is now in sixth place with their 5-6 record, a full game behind the Ateneo Blue Eagles and the UST Growling Tigers.
“We’re not out,” Zamar insists after their loss to La Salle last Wednesday. “We’re not out. We’re still there. We just have to do fine-tuning again.”
But UE will definitely have to win their three remaining games, starting with Ateneo on Sunday, for them to remain in control of their destiny.
“Lahat ng games importante,” Zamar said. “Last three games namin, importante. Kung pwede kaming sumabit sa Final Four, kailangan naming sumabit. Kung kailangan doon sa No. 4 spot ay mag-playoff, we will do it.”
But Zamar is also hoping to see improved play from his wards, including Sumang, who missed a key free throw against La Salle and seemed to run out of gas in overtime.
“These are precious lessons that cost the team,” said Zamar. “This is a make-or-break – either you break the thing or you make the thing. Nag-ga-gang up na sa kanya, then you have to pass the ball.”
“They are playing gang-up defense on him, so he has to be more mature. You want to make it to the higher standard of basketball, then you have to learn to pass,” he added.
As has been his mantra throughout the season, Zamar stressed that mental toughness will be the key for them as they approach the home stretch.
“It’s more than the maturity. It’s the mental toughness,” he said.