Ready for more surprises from UE's Batiller and Derige?

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Aug 28, 2016 06:25 PM
Ready for more surprises from UE's Batiller and Derige?
STILL HERE. Bonbon Batiller and Clark Derige are all set to hold down the fort for All-Filipino UE.

A season ago, two names came from out of nowhere to lead the University of the East into battle.

Assumed to be Paul Varilla’s team, the Red Warriors were instead bannered by breakouts from Bonbon Batiller in the first round and Clark Derige in the second round.

Now a year older and wiser, the second-year players are very much aware that they wouldn’t be catching anyone off-guard anymore. As Batiller put it, “Sinasabi sa akin palagi nila coach, ‘’Di ka na bago sa UAAP. Na-scout ka na nila kaya kailangan ng extra hardwork.”

That rings even truer now that there’s no veteran leader like Chris Javier to keep them in check. “Alam naman namin na kailangan naming lalo mag-step up kasi kumbaga, kami na yung liderato ngayon,” the General Santos native expressed.

For his part, Derige he just chooses to not let the pressure get to him. “Yung mindset ko lang naman talaga is gawin yung kung ano yung makakatulong sa amin,” he said.

Heading into Season 79 without any reinforcement from a foreign student-athlete, UE only needs more development and no sophomore slump from their rising stars last year.

And contrary to popular opinion, Derige  is relishing the chance to lead a frontline that would have to contend with the likes of De La Salle University’s Ben Mbala and Adamson University’s Pape Sarr. “Kakayanin natin talaga yun,” he said.

The recruit out of Quirino  added, “Sabi nga ni coach, mas maganda maglaro ng All-Filipino para maiba naman.”

Of course, he wouldn’t be alone in that tall task as anyone and everyone know very well that the Warriors’ defense begins from the backcourt. “Doble sipag na talaga kami kasi ginawa naming motivation na walaa kaming import na tatao sa gitna,” Batiller said.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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