MANILA, Philippines – Anyone who has watched the UE Red Warriors play at any point last season knows that this is Alvin Pasaol’s team.
And in three games so far in the UAAP Season 81, that has still been the case, as the stocky 6-foot-3 forward came into their game against Ateneo averaging a league-high 24 points a game. Not one of his teammates at that point even breached double digits in scoring average.
But new UE head coach Joe Silva has been trying his best to change that culture.
The former Ateneo Blue Eaglets high school champion coach firmly believes that his new wards can succeed without Pasaol, and indeed, a bit of that vision showed in the Warriors’ game on Wednesday, September 26 against Ateneo.
UE still got routed by 27 points, 62-89, but they made their biggest scoring burst in the 3rd quarter with their main man on the bench. Mark Maloles and Will Bartolome conspired for 8 points in UE’s 12-5 run to cut the deficit to 14, 44-58.
That was the only UE highlight of the game, but it was good enough for Silva.
“I just want to tell them that as long as you stick to the system, it’s going to be easy,” he told reporters post-game. “I always tell them, we don’t need Alvin Pasaol to compete or to contend. Believe in yourselves. Kaya nila naman yun kahit wala si Alvin (They can do it without Alvin.)"
At this point, Silva’s words may have already stuck to his boys, as five players not named Alvin Pasaol scored at least 6 points. Bartolome finished second to Pasaol’s 17 points with 12 off the bench.
As a team, they even had great shot selection, finishing 28-of-61 (46%). They only got roundly outgunned from deep, as they only converted 1-of-16 (6%) from downtown compared to Ateneo’s 12-of-36 (33%).
Still, Pasaol acknowledged that his teammates improved, one game after he called them out for lackluster play.
“Malaki naman [yung improvement],” he said. "May mga taong nag-step sa amin ngayon. Yun yung sign na maganda yung ini-introduce na sistema sa amin.”
(The improvement was big. People stepped up for us today. That’s the sign that the system introduced to us was a good one.)
Still winless at 0-4, Silva is showing no signs of worry.
“Ganun pa rin, it’s a process,” he said. “Kailangan tiyagaan lang. Tuloy lang yung ginagawa.”
(Still the same, it’s a process. We just need to be patient and continue what we’re doing.)
Trust the process, as they always say. – Rappler.com