UE's Pasaol happy with new bench role, teammates stepping up



MANILA, Philippines – It was the win no one saw coming.

The bottom-dwelling UE Red Warriors decimated the Final Four-contender FEU Tamaraws by 25, 90-65, in the UAAP men's basketball tournament.

From the first to the final buzzer, UE was relentless on the offensive end, draining shots left and right, inside and outside.

When the dust settled, the Red Warriors have chalked up a 34-of-74 (45%) shooting clip as a team with 12-of-32 (38%) from deep. (READ: UE shocks FEU to crash into UAAP win column)

Aside from coach Joe Silva, no one is happier for this win than team star Alvin Pasaol, who finished with 25 points, 13 rebounds and 5 steals in his first game this season off the bench.

For once, he wasn’t the only one carrying the load on the offensive end, and it immediately resulted in a blowout win.

Sobrang saya ko,” Pasaol said after the game. “Nung mga [last] few games kasi namin, nakukuha naman nila pero di nila masyado nashu-shoot yung bola. Ngayon, sobrang laki ng confidence nila na kaya nila.”  

(I was so happy because in the last few games, they were getting their looks, but they weren’t draining them. Now, their confidence is sky-high.)

Jason Varilla chipped in 17 points with 5 three-pointers all drained in the 1st half.

Veteran point guard Philip Manalang had his best outing of the season with 13 points and a career-high 12 assists. Interestingly, his 12 assists were the most dished out in the UAAP since FEU superstar Terrence Romeo did it against UE in 2013.

Yun nga parating sinasabi sa kanila na kaya nyo,” said Pasaol. “Maniwala lang tayo na kaya nating manalo.

(That's what I always tell them, that they can do it. We should just believe that we can win.)

Indeed, right after UE got blasted by Ateneo 4 days earlier, Silva said that his boys can compete without Pasaol. (READ: UE can win and contend without Alvin Pasaol, says Joe Silva)

On his bench role, Pasaol said it was a brilliant play by Silva, the reigning Ateneo juniors champion coach.

Siguro ganun lang sa strategy ni coach Joe na ganun muna yung sistema,” he said. “Sobrang nakalaki ng tulong na off the bench yung pagpasok ko sa kanila, kasi nabasa ko na lahat ng kung ano unang gagawin ko pagpasok ko.”

(Maybe that’s just coach Joe’s strategy that the system is like that for now. It’s a huge help that I’m coming off the bench, because I already read everything that I would do once I come in.)

With a coach of Silva’s caliber, it was only a matter of time before they figured their flow out. Now, it’s only a matter of being consistent at doing it. – Rappler.com