The arrival of foreign basketball players has been a trend in the UAAP for quite some time now, yet the University of the East Red Warriors choose to remain import-less.
The team opted to stay All-Filipino in honor of the 150th birth anniversary of the national hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal, as well as the school’s 65th Founding Anniversary theme, “Rizal nasa Puso ng UE”.
However, without the aid of a dominant import, the Red Warriors settled for a second-worst 3-11 card last year. Since most other UAAP squads included huge and athletic foreign players in their rosters, UE found it tough to compete. Understandably, this decision by the team’s coaching staff and management to not recruit imports drew some negative reaction from the Warriors’ supporters.
But things might change soon. Head Coach Jerry Codinera revealed that three foreign players are currently taking their residency in the school as required by the league. In the meantime, the former PBA star remains optimistic about the Warriors’ campaign in Season 75. According to Codinera, although the imports can be intimidating, his team is capable of scoring some upsets, as it has during the pre-season.
“Of course, the ultimate goal is to win the championship. We have to do it with our games, compete as a true warrior, and fight with every might. We have to endure from trainings to games and eventually find ourselves in the UAAP’s final four again,” shared Codinera.
Meanwhile, UE’s UAAP Board member and Assistant Physical Education Director Rodrigo Roque thinks that while not having an import in the roster does not necessarily become a disadvantage, it certainly has its benefits.
“The games have just started. Next year, we may have foreigners in our team, too,” said Roque.
So there you have it: the Red Warriors may be parading imports in 2013. This should steer some excitement among the UE students and alumni. And although imports cannot really guarantee an end to the school’s 27-year title drought, the Red Warriors may just have a better fighting chance against the higher ranked teams next year.
For now, the valiant homegrown boys from Recto will just have to slug it out with the dominant imports in the league, and hope to spring some surprise victories.
This article was published at Yahoo! Philippines Sports on August 8, 2012. Link below