Warriors and Maroons do battle to start UAAP Season 78

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 05, 2015 01:11 AM
Warriors and Maroons do battle to start UAAP Season 78
FORWARD. UE and UP will both feature new looks when they begin Season 78.

Games on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum

2:00 PM – UE vs UP

4:00 PM – UST vs Adamson

The 78th Season of the UAAP Men’s Basketball Tournament is set to get underway with a clash between two new-look squads aiming to shock the world by barging into the Final Four.

There will no longer be a Roi Sumang for the University of the East or a Mikee Reyes for the University of the Philippines and new faces will be seeking the spotlight when the Red Warriors battle the Fighting Maroons on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum.

The first game of the season will be broadcast LIVE at 2:00 PM on ABS-CBN Sports+Action Channel 23 and will also be streamed LIVE on sports.abs-cbn.com.

UE witnessed an exodus in their rotation from a year ago with Sumang and Bong Galanza heading for the pros and Charles Mammie, Mustapha Arafat, Gino Jumao-as, and Dan Alberto exiting from the team. While coach Derrick Pumaren replenished his backcourt with promising recruits in Fran Yu and Philip Manalang, the Recto-based school did not take in any reinforcement to replace Mammie or Arafat in the middle.

Still, Pumaren believes his young All-Filipino squad fronted by Chris Javier and Paul Varilla has what it takes to make noise. “We are parading an All-Filipino lineup, but that won’t stop us from pulling off some surprises,” he said.

Speaking of surprises, although not many are giving UP any chance to advance into the next round, first-time head coach Rency Bajar has exclaimed that their team goal for the season is to make the semifinals. “We are thinking big. We are aiming for the Final Four,” he said.

Now without Reyes, it will be up to team captain JR Gallarza and veterans Henry Asilum and Dave Moralde to see to it that thinking big turns into winning big. The victory-hungry school will also expect positive development from sophomore Diego Dario, returning Paul Desiderio, and rookie reinforcement Cheik Kone to fan their ambitious hopes.


Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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