For the 10th straight season, University of the East will not make it to the next stage of the UAAP Men’s Basketball Tournament.
The Red Warriors just suffered a 50-84 beatdown at the hands of the Ateneo Blue Eagles, which dropped UE to a 3-9 slate.
UE’s active consultant Lawrence Chongson did not mince his words after the game on Sunday.
“Ako naman I came here not thinking long-term, I’ll be honest with that. Hindi naman talaga ako dapat ‘yung coach, ‘di ba? Na-force tayo. ‘Di naman forced, parang… It could be in better hands in the short term, ‘di ba?” he lamented.
“Let’s face it — you get one-and-dones to win right away. Isang dekadang ‘di nag-Final Four, ‘yun din ang gusto naming i-solve. We want to get to the Final Four now.”
Chongson was at the helm during UE’s last Final Four appearance, but UE booted him out after Season 73.
Then came a carousel of coaches that saw the likes of Boycie Zamar, Derrick Pumaren, and Joe Silva take over.
Even with quality coaches, though, things did not result in victories. So for Chongson, the problem lies in the people on top of UE.
“Long-term… With UE’s history naman, wala namang long-term ang UE eh. They change coaches just like they change clothes. They got mga Hall of Fame coach like Derrick Pumaren, Boysie Zamar; they got the young guys, mga Joe Silva. One thing you have to give to them — they don’t stop trying,” he shared.
“Perhaps sa akin lang, try nila instead of changing coaches, change management din.”
Chongson’s job with UE is as an active consultant, not head coach. School owner Bong Tan was appointed to the post.
This came about since UE’s athletic office struggled with the team’s management.
Back in June, Silva and Chongson were no longer seeing eye-to-eye, with the latter calling the shots during their pre-season games.
When Silva handed his resignation just a week before the season, the team’s athletic office, headed by Rod Roque, did not want Chongson as the team’s head coach. It then resulted in the Tan-Chongson partnership.
“Everybody’s acting in good faith, but it’s just that sometimes, when you put the steering wheel on the wrong driver, chances are they’d drive you off a cliff. Not to say na I want to stay. ‘Di naman ‘yun ‘yung inaano ko rito,” Chongson continued.
“Sa tagal ko na rin sa business na ‘to, ‘pag UE — Philippine basketball. Wala namang permanente. Bago ‘yung Tab Baldwin sumulpot sa Ateneo, nagpa-raffle din naman ng coaches din ‘yan eh.”
For his part, though, Chongson doesn’t know if he will be part of UE’s future. All he knows is UE has to solve its problems internally before it can move forward.