The UE Red Warriors have dramatically improved over the past couple of years. In season 75, they were one of the cellar-dwelling teams finishing with a 3-11 record. They took a huge step forward with their basketball program the next season finishing with a 7-7 record, one win short of the Final Four. Now the question for the UE Red Warriors is: can they take it to the next level?

There’s no doubt that UE’s priority this season is to reach the Final Four, and anything less would be very disappointing. They certainly have talent to reach the Final Four but it still remains to be seen if they will come together as a unit.


Acquisitions Holdovers Departures

Moustapha Arafat

Shej Roi Sumang Ralf Olivares

Mamer Navarro

Charles Mammie JM Noble

Paul Varilla

Gino Jumao-as Lord Casajeros

Edgar Charcos

Dan Alberto Adrian Santos

Junard Caparida

Chris Javier Leo Guion

Emil Palma

Ivan Hernandez Luis Pujante

Steven Cudal

Pedrito Galanza Jhon Rey Santos

Dominador Pillas

Mark Olayon Jairold Fores

Daryl Gulang

Ronnie De Leon

There’s a new coach in Red Warrior town, Coach Derrick Pumaren. Boycie Zamar was given the pink slip after season 76, with his team failing to reach the Final Four. Zamar did have his share of comedic moments, but personally I thought he did good with the talent he had in season 76. He took a very young team with little winning experience, and brought them within one game of the Final Four.Coach: Derrick Pumaren

New UE Red Warrior Head Coach Derrick Pumaren (Dante Peralta,

New UE Red Warrior Head Coach Derrick Pumaren (Photo Credit: Dante Peralta,

Also, keep in mind that there were several controversial suspensions for the UE Red Warriors. If maybe some of the team members could’ve controlled their emotions or become a little more mature, last year could’ve been a very different story. But all that’s in the past, Derrick Pumaren now has a clean slate to work on but now he’s being measure on a higher standard. The Red Warriors have to make it to the Final Four.

With every roster change in most cases there’s good news and there’s bad news. The bad news for the UE Red Warriors is that they will take a heavy hit in the scoring department with Olivares, Noble, Casajeros and Santos leaving. Take note that this was already a UE team that had a very shallow bench with some saying it was just the Roi Sumang show, he needed more help.

The good news is that this season, they’ll be unleashing the beast that is Moustaph Arafat. This man is an athletic freak of nature (by UAAP standards). There are several videos on Youtube that showcase his incredible dunking ability, at times even jumping over people to throw it down. His strength is definitely in the paint, driving the ball, and banging inside. It remains to be seen if he has a consistent midrange jumper. He also has some shot blocking ability which is perfect since Javier and Mammie aren’t really rim protectors.

The Breakout Star of Season 76

If there was a breakout star for season 76, it would definitely be Roi Sumang. For most fans who regularly follow UAAP, in season 75, we all knew Sumang had talent. But in season 76, he took the league by storm, he was spectacular. He gave us several clutch plays and game winners, the guy with the biggest heart.

Breakout Star Roi Sumang (Roy Afable, InterAKTV)

PhotoCredit: Breakout Star Roi Sumang (Roy Afable, InterAKTV)

His game actually reminds me of The Phenom, Kiefer Ravena. Ravena last year was plagued with injuries, but for those who missed his style and level of play, we had Roi Sumang. If there was anything he could improve on, it would probably be on the playmaking side, try to get others involved early. But last season he was already very mature, he was good in passing and knew he had to get his teammates involved early and unleashed his scoring prowess in fourth quarters.

Who’s number 2?

Projected Depth Chart

Starting Five Second Unit


Charles Mammie Ivan Hernandez


Chris Javier Moustapha Arafat


Gino Jumao-as Mark Olayon


Dan Alberto Pedrito Galanza


Roi Sumang

Mammie is a beast inside the paint, a little raw on the offensive end but a monster in rebounding, and probably the best rebounder in the UAAP. Jumao-as is a very capable scorer and would probably share playmaking duties with Dan Alberto once Sumang heads to the bench.Another big question is: who’s going to take over the void in scoring Olivares left behind? I think the most likely answer to this is that UE will try to fill that void by committee.

2014 UE Lineup (Twitter: @BombaUE)

2014 UE Lineup (Photo Credit: Twitter, @BombaUE)

Alberto also is a very capable shooter as he had proven last season.  He will be a very crucial piece in the offense in my opinion since he can space the floor and draw the defense so Sumang can attack the paint.

Arafat has no experience in the UAAP but much will be expected from him. He’ll be asked to rebound, block shots and take some of the scoring responsibility.

Another piece of bad news for UE is that they might not have a lot of depth this season. Sumang, Mammie, Alberto, Jumao-as and Arafat are all very promising but after that there are question marks all around on the bench. Even Chris Javier, who seemed to be the next great bigman for UE during season 75 was almost irrelevant in season 76. This season will be a great opportunity for him to bounce back.

This UE team is a very young team with a lot of inexperienced and untested players especially on the bench. The setting is unfavorable but they could still find success despite these problems they will be facing. The challenge for UE is to grow as the season progresses and overcome the adversities.

Expected Record: 8-6, 4th place

I think they can finally get back to the Final Four this year. They just need to be a little better and a little more mature than last year. It will take some time to gel together, especially since there are only a few experienced holdovers but the team has promise. They certainly have the talent to reach the Final Four but only time can tell.