Derrick Pumaren not losing hope as UE tries to end winless start v UP

A collective sense of frustration is starting to be felt by University of the East.

After all, the Red Warriors have yet to live up to expectations in the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tournament after dropping their first three matches.

And UE’s third-year coach Derrick Pumaren knows they have nobody else to look for a needed lift other than themselves.

“We’re in this hole right now and we just have to climb out of it,” he said, ahead of UE’s encounter with University of the Philippines in a battle of winless squads on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

“We’re 0-3 and I know everybody is down. We’re all disappointed and frustrated because the expectations are high.”

Tagged by many as this year’s darkhorse, the Red Warriors have yet to flash the sharp form that’s expected from them, notably top guard Bonbon Batiller who’s been inconsistent so far.

The 5-foot-11 Batiller remains UE’s leading scorer with 12.0 points per game, but he scored just three markers in their 59-67 defeat inflicted by defending champion Far Eastern U last Wednesday.

Pumaren, however, is not one to point an accusing finger, saying the Red Warriors need to get the job done collectively against the Fighting Maroons.

“The important thing is we don’t underestimate UP. We have to come out and be ready for UP because we’re not out of it,” he stressed. “The season is still young and it just started, but we have to make a move.”  Jerome Lagunzad

Follow this writer on Twitter: @JLFoxSports

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