A winless 0-14 campaign in Season 84 has finally dawned for University of the East after absorbing a 53-65 loss to Adamson University on Sunday morning.
Though it was not the kind of result that they wanted to have, both Clint Escamis and Harvey Pagsanjan are still confident that their 0-14 campaign will be vital in their development as players moving forward.
“Malungkot kami dahil ganun ‘yung naging outcome ng season namin dahil ‘di kami nanalo pero sinasabi lang ni Coach Jamike [Jarin] sa’min lagi na be selfless. Sa bawat game natututo ka ganun, di naman diyan titigil ‘yung paglalaro mo eh,” stressed Pagsanjan, who averaged 13.43 points, 5.43 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game for UE.
“Dapat sa mga susunod na season, lalo na kami ni Clint [Escamis] marami pa kaming season na lalaruin, kailangan talaga namin mag-grow as a player.”
“Siyempre para sa’min frustrating as a team na wala kaming panalo pero ang maganda naman doon, madami din kaming natutunan sa mga games namin like with Coach Jamike [Jarin] and Coach Jack [Santiago] tapos bright future ahead for us kasi young team din namin and rebuilding kami so madami kayong makikita sa future with UE,” added Escamis, who normed 7.64 points, 5.93 rebounds, 4.57 assists, and 2.14 steals per game.
In their fourth game of the season against UP back on April 2, UE head coach Jack Santiago was allegedly heard instructing his players to deliberately ‘harm’ Ricci Rivero during the game. He initially received a two-game suspension from the league although UE decided to conduct its own investigation on the matter afterward.
Santiago never returned to the Red Warriors’ bench as Jamike Jarin eventually took over the coaching duties for the remainder of their campaign. Still, Pagsanjan shared that the team tried to keep its composure and credited Jarin for keeping them on track amid the controversy.
“Siguro nagulat lahat eh parang ‘di kami sanay na wala si Coach Jack pero since nung nakausap kami ni Coach Jamike na sinabi nga niya na mawawala si Coach Jack na hindi niya alam kailan makakabalik,” the sophomore playmaker said.
“Siguro ‘di naman porket nawala si Coach Jack mag-gigive up na ‘yung team kasi kami naman ‘yung naglalaro eh. Si Coach Jamike, ginawa niya talaga ‘yung best niya para mapag-isa niya ‘yung team and matanggal sa mindset namin na nagkulang kami ng head coach.”
Despite the issue, Santiago was still very well respected by the Red Warriors. Escamis shared that they still kept him in mind and did the best they could every time they stepped on the floor as gratitude for his role in molding the team into what it is right now.
“We owe it to him to do our best kasi siyempre siya ‘yung nag-build nung team eh — nung system namin. Kaya we do our best talaga para sa kanya in every practice para kay Coach Jack kasi wala siya doon eh,” he shared.
Coming from winning programs in the high school ranks, both players are also not used to losing that many games as much as they did in Season 84. Escamis played a key role in leading the Mapua Red Robins to two NCAA Juniors titles together with the likes of Will Gozum and Warren Bonifacio.
Despite the success that they’ve achieved together, he still chose to play for the Red Warriors instead of staying in Intramuros to play for the Cardinals at the collegiate level.
“No regrets naman ako pero I wish them all the best lang syempre winning sila ngayon. I think number two sila sa NCAA tama di ba? Yung decision ko naman na lumipat sa UE wholehearted naman and kahit talo kami, madami ako na-gain na learnings and experiences within this transfer,” the 5-foot-11 guard claimed.
The same can be said for Pagsanjan who previously bannered Hope Christian High School — a known powerhouse in the Fil-Chi basketball scene. He admitted that it was hard for him after playing through a winless campaign but continued to offer optimism for the Red Warriors, hopefully with the help of a foreign student-athlete moving forward.
“Siguro, ina-ano ko na lang din na mahirap tanggapin na 0-14 eh, pero makikita mo naman yung team namin na bata talaga. ‘Yun nga wala kaming import, ‘yun talaga ‘yung big factor kung ba’t kami parang kulang lagi, mismatch kami lagi sa game,” Pagsanjan admitted as Adama Diakhite had turned pro in Basketball Africa League just days before the season began.
“Siguro looking forward na lang sa next season na kung wala man kaming import next season, at least alam na namin yung kung pano kami maglalaro as a team kahit walang import. Pero sana meron kaming import next season para mas maganda.”