WHAT IF… Alvin Pasaol played his last year in UE
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jul 22, 2020 04:45 PM
Alvin Pasaol and Rey Suerte would have made a knockout 1-2 punch if they would have teamed up for UE
History lesson: University of the East had a ready-made replacement for Alvin Pasaol when he decided to forgo his fourth and final year in red and white.
In Rey Suerte, the Red Warriors had another super scorer who could come up clutch game in and game out.
The Cebuano put up per game counts of 17.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.2 steals on his way to a spot on the UAAP 82 Mythical Team.
A season earlier, Pasaol averaged a double-double of 24.4 points and 11.0 rebounds on top of 1.9 steals and was a Mythical selection himself.
Now, imagine if those two were teammates.
Now, just think if UE had two super scorers who could come up clutch game in and game out.
If the big-bodied scoring machine would have come back for one last ride, he and Suerte would have formed the fieriest 1-2 punch in all of the league - at the offensive end, at the very least.
At the same time, Pasaol would have been under his third coach in four years, with the late Bong Tan - and active consultant Lawrence Chongson - following Derrick Pumaren and Joe Silva.
Still, he would have been, without a doubt, option no. 1 for UE.
Their one-and-done prized prospect, meanwhile, would become more dangerous as he slides to option no. 1A.
With those two, the Red Warriors could score on anyone and everyone and would truly transform into darkhorse contenders not only for the Final Four, but for the Finals itself.
Don't forget that alongside those two, Senegalese banger Adama Diakhite would also be there as well as steady Philip Manalang running the point.
That top-heavy team would then no longer be just a tough-out, but a legitimate candidate for a place in the playoffs.
It's still tough to take Recto over third-seeded Far Eastern University with L-Jay Gonzales running the show or fourth-seeded University of Sto. Tomas fronted by Season MVP Soulemane Chabi Yo and Rookie of the Year Mark Nonoy.
However, that top-heavy team would, for sure, pose problems for fifth-running De La Salle University.
Remember, UE upset the Green Archers in the first round - and did it without Pasaol.
With the 49-point man there, it's not that farfetched to see them vaulting over the green and white in the standings and then threatening the Tamaraws and the Growling Tigers for the last two playoff berths.
Ultimately, the Red Warriors would fall short, but a seven- or six-win season would still be the best finish for Pasaol in his collegiate career.
And hey, just right outside the playoff picture is, of course, an improvement from their bottom-third finishes from years past.
At year's end, Pasaol and Suerte still move forward to greener pastures - the former the face of 3x3 and the latter a fixture on the Gilas Pilipinas pool.
And at year's end, the UE Red Warriors would do nothing but build on their best finish in recent history.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.