The 'other' RR is a Red Warrior
Paul Lintag on Aug 28, 2016 01:21 PM
BIG SHOES TO FILL. RR De Leon is raring to make a name for himself now in his final year.
If you thought RR De Leon was kinda under the radar for the duration of his collegiate career with the UE Red Warriors, never fear because you are not alone.
The sweet-shooting big man himself is one of you.
However, as he takes over the role of UE's stretch 5 for UAAP Season 79, De Leon is out to make sure you remember his name right.
"This year, on everything," De Leon said when asked what he hopes to improve for the Red Warriors in the new season.
"Kasi nung previous season ko, wala eh. Kumbaga di ko na-feel na nandoon ako. Para sakin ngayon, gagawin ko lahat," he added.
While he's set on doing everything in his power to give UE a better campaign, the responsibility of doing so doesn’t fall in his hands entirely.
With two incoming rookie big men, he's more than happy to play the "kuya" role in making sure the rest of the Red Warriors maintain discipline, a key component to the brand of basketball head coach Derrick Pumaren wants to instill.
"Siguro alam naman ng lahat na nasa team kami ng Pumaren," De Leon said as Manong Derrick’s brother Dindo, also a former UE head coach, likewise sits on he bench as an assistant.
"Unang-una is yung discipline lalo na sa mga plays namin, sa practices. Kasi kami matagal na kami eh so ahead ako sa kanila, mas alam ko yung mga rules na nase-share ko sa kanila [rookies]," the 6'6" slotman added.
Failing to make the playoffs by the skin of their teeth in the last three seasons, De Leon is taking it personal to lead the Red Warriors to the next level this year.
He's even thinking maybe this batch can re-create the magic of Season 72 especially now with UE having not only one, but two Pumarens basically calling the shots.
"Iniisip ko na yun eh. Gusto ko bago ako umalis ng UE, kung hindi kami mag-champion, gusto ko maiba. Gusto ko makapasok na kami sa playoffs tulad nung mga past years nung panahon pa ni coach Dindo lagi silang top 4," De Leon said.
Third time was never the charm for UE last year, but for RR, the drive for Final Four may succeed with a fourth attempt.
"This year confident ako," he said. "Confident ako with my teammates."
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