UE won over its new rising star with siopao and mami

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 16, 2015 06:24 PM
UE won over its new rising star with siopao and mami
THINKING OF THE FUTURE. Early in his UAAP career, Edson Batiller is already proving that he will be a big piece of UE's future.

Forgotten in the windup to the UAAP 78 Men’s Basketball Tournament, University of the East is one of the leaders early in the season.

Following a loss to start their campaign, the Red Warriors have rang off back-to-back victories and it’s no surprise that it has coincided with the breakout of Recto’s newest backcourt bomber.

UE’s rise in the standings is primarily thanks to the emergence of Edson Batiller. Riding two consecutive 23-point outings from their first-year player, the Warriors took down defending champion National University and then competitive Adamson University.

A transferee from Holy Trinity in General Santos City, Batiller has repeatedly been called by head coach Derrick Pumaren as “my number one recruit.” Then in his first year on the job, Pumaren first saw Batiller’s talent during the 2014 Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup and immediately courted him to come to Recto.

Sharing what clinched his “number one recruit,” Pumaren jested, “Siopao at mami, bumigay na sakin. He came cheap.”

While he gamely admitted that he was indeed fond of siopao and mami, Batiller said it was the opportunity to play in the biggest and most prestigious league that made him decide to leave GenSan. “Siyempre, UAAP,” he said.

He then continued, “Sabi ni manong (referring to Pumaren), kung gusto mong magka-future sa basketball, may offer ako sayo sa UE.”

Everything fell into place from there as after serving residency, Batiller again showcased his talent in the 2015 Filoil – now as part of a youthful UE squad. Although he has consistently impressed, the Warriors’ newest rising star was quick to temper insinuations that he is now their go-to-guy.

“Sabi ni manong, sa amin, walang go-to-guy. Gawin lang ang trabaho at kung sino ang suswertehin, siya makakakuha,” he said.

Moreover, Batiller said it was not his individual statistics, but a collective desire to disprove preseason projections that has UE playing well. “Yung prediction nila samin na 0-14, sabi ni manong, maglaro lang tayo. Dun natin ipakita yung sagot natin sa predictions nila,” he said.

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