With its arsenal fully loaded, UE's ambush good to go in UAAP 82

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Aug 27, 2019 05:16 PM
With its arsenal fully loaded, UE's ambush good to go
UE court general Philip Manalang will have a stockpile of weapons at his disposal for UAAP 82

HOW’D THEY DO LAST SEASON? 1-13, eighth

YES, THEY’RE STILL HERE: Chris Conner, Philip Manalang

WELCOME TO THE FAMILY: John Apacible, Alex Diakhite, Jed Mendoza, Harvey Pagsanjan, Richie Rodger, Rey Suerte, Neil Tolentino

GOOD LUCK ON FUTURE ENDEAVORS: Reymark Acuno, Wilson Bartolome, Alvin Pasaol, Jason Varilla

WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM UE?

UE operated in the shadows in the offseason – begging off the 2019 Filoil Flying V Preseason Tournament and hiding its true form once it played games.

Still, the red and white made the loudest noise in the lead-up to UAAP 82 – so much so that it was named ABS-CBN Sports' co-King of Recruiting for 2019.

Indeed, the Red Warriors of this year will look definitely different from last year’s iteration as all of 6-foot-9 Senegalese Alex Diakhite, Hope Christian High School standout Harvey Pagsanjan, three-time champion and two-time MVP in CESAFI Rey Suerte, ex-Jose Rizal University super scorer Jed Mendoza, former Ateneo de Manila University forward John Apacible, defensive stopper Neil Tolentino, and Filipino-Kiwi swingman Ritchie Rodger are now flanking team captain Philip Manalang.

Without a doubt, that fully loaded lineup is the best Recto has had in recent history – and it is nothing but ready and raring to take everybody by surprise and take the league by storm.

Now, the only question is if its coaching staff has what it takes to make it all work.

WHO IS/ARE THE PLAYER/S TO WATCH OUT FOR FROM UE?

The early exit of Alvin Pasaol will be a big blow to any team, but UE has full faith it has a ready-made replacement in Suerte.

While the 6-foot-3 long-limbed forward does not have the blend of size and speed Pasaol had, he is a scoring machine in his own right and has long terrorized Visayan defenses with his shot-taking and shot-making ability from all over the court.

The same can be said for Pagsanjan who has long been college-ready. For now, however, the pride of Hope Christian will only be needed to contribute whatever and whenever he can with the likes of Manalang, Suerte and Jed Mendoza, another one-and-done recruit, carrying the offensive load.

Add to that Diakhite, who has all the confidence and the capability to position himself right away alongside Bright Akhuetie and Ange Kouame as one of the best foreign student-athletes, and the Red Warriors are sure to be pushoevers no more.

WHY SHOULD WE ROOT FOR UE?

The last time UE was in the Final Four and the Finals, Paul Lee was still donning the red and white.

It has been a decade since and this fully loaded lineup may very well put an end to that drought – that is if and only if there are no complications when it comes to coaching.

Whatever it is, the Red Warriors are overdue for a breakthrough and it will not be farfetched to see our co-King of Recruiting for 2019 coming through.

WHERE WOULD UE BE AT THE END OF UAAP SEASON 82?

UE will be far, far away from the bottom of the standings it had been languishing in as of late. With Diakhite dominating inside, Suerte and Mendoza scoring in bunches, Pagsanjan doing it all, and Manalang showing the way, the Red Warriors will be battling for a playoff berth.

And if they do not get derailed by their own doing, it also will not be a surprise if the red and white will be fighting for the championship itself.

WHEN IS UE’S FIRST GAME IN UAAP SEASON 82?

UE finally comes out of the shadows in a matchup with fellow upstart UST on September 4 at Araneta Coliseum.

Of course, everybody goes All for More and, as always, all of the action will be on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and livestream.

HERE’S WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE SEVEN OTHER TEAMS IN UAAP SEASON 82:

UAAP 82 one more chance for NU to piece the puzzle together

Espana’s hope in UAAP 82? Cansino’s return to form, UST’s return to playoffs

All-Filipino La Salle all set to cut UAAP 82 rivals down to size

Brave FEU not backing down from more heralded UAAP 82 rivals

Behind Ahanmisi, Adamson’s youth will be on the march in UAAP 82

For the first time in a long time, UP has gone all-in for UAAP 82

Ateneo out to give its latest golden generation a fitting farewell in UAAP 82

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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