UNIVER­SITY OF THE EAST RED WAR­RIORS

CODIÑERA. ZA­MAR. VIL­LAR­IAS. TWENTY-SIX YEARS AGO. THOSE NAMES WERE FEARED IN THE COL­LEGE ARENA. JERRY CODIÑERA, DAVID ZA­MAR, AND VERNIE VIL­LAR­IAS LED THE WAR­RIORS TO TWO CON­SEC­U­TIVE FI­NALS’ BERTHS. BUT WITH­OUT ONE GUY NAMED “CAIDIC” THEY NEVER WON ANY

Rebound Magazine - - UAAP PREVIEW - by Rick Olivares

Twenty-six years later. Jerry Codiñera is back al­beit in his first head coach­ing stint. And he has in tow the scions of past team­mates. Paul Za­mar is run­ning the point and Roy Vil­lar­ias is hop­ing to rekin­dle the marks­man­ship of his fa­ther.

But with­out the de­parted Paul Lee, who had Caidic-es­que mo­ments and for­went his fi­nal play­ing year (to fol­low his men­tor Lawrence Chong­son in the PBA D-League), this team will be hard­pressed to move up in the stand­ings.

Re­mem­ber: Codiñera, Za­mar, and Vil­lar­ias. For all their great game, they will find that the tough will get go­ing.

BJ Zosa and Lu­cas Ta­garda in the back­court. Ken Acibar and Lordy Casajeros at for­ward and Adrian Santos at cen­ter.

Strangely enough, UE now re­sem­bles the UST of a cou­ple of years ago when all they had were a corps of shoot­ers and a dough­nut hole in the mid­dle. The Tigers on the other hand have started to get some help in­side. And we all know what hap­pened to those Tiger teams.

Zosa, who is from Cebu, is a nifty find here. He will pro­vide scor­ing sock but UE will find out that isn’t enough when Ta­garda and Santos are hardly scor­ing threats. Casajeros can hit it from the out­side. Em­pha­sis on can. But can he do it con­sis­tently enough?

Ken Acibar is go­ing to miss Paul Lee. He was the ben­e­fi­ciary of many a dou­ble team and open lane to the bas­ket. And

he par­layed that into a Myth­i­cal Five se­lec­tion that many bas­ket­ball ob­servers con­sider a fluke since the award­ing is based on sta­tis­tics. He didn’t im­press dur­ing the pre-sea­son and un­less he re­al­izes that he is THE MAN now then he could go the way of for­mer War­rior Marcy Arel­lano – a great first sea­son then all down­hill af­ter­wards.

Bench

There’s Paul Za­mar who, when hot, can be as deadly as Lee. Ja­yar Su­mido was the sub­ject of a re­cruit­ing war among sev­eral schools a few years ago. But last year, he was a bust. Bi­boy En­guio played well in the first round be­fore he de­cided to be­come the In­vis­i­ble Man. Can they be more con­sis­tent this year? Sam Ra­zon was play­ing well in the sec­ond round of Sea­son 73 un­til an in­jury took him down. If he is able to shake off his ten­ta­tive­ness and find his game back he could be rein­serted into the start­ing unit and pro­vide some mus­cle in­side. JM No­ble and Er­win Du­ran should help out. Chris Javier, who helped San Beda to back-to-back ti­tles in the Ju­niors Divi­sion learned that col­lege hoops is a dif­fer­ent an­i­mal dur­ing UE’s stint in the pre-sea­son. If in high school he was a Big Man (maybe not as big as Ponso Got­ladera), in col­lege, play­ers his size are a dime a dozen. With Javier’s mo­bil­ity, he should help some. But re­ally, you know you’re in trou­ble when the best big man in UE is your coach.

Coach­ing

And speak­ing of the coach. Codiñera was an as­sis­tant to Aboy Cas­tro in UP for a cou­ple of years and he should know what pit­falls to avoid and work on. Codiñera was a fe­ro­cious player. UE man­age­ment is count­ing on that fire in­side him to whip this team into shape and play with a lot of pride. It’s hard to say that he’s a novice coach. Look at Pido Jaren­cio. In his first year, he led UST to a ti­tle. Ditto with Ato Agustin in San Se­bas­tian. Things may not look good for them but in UE’s case, the only way to go is up. Codiñera will fire up this team but be­fore it gets bet­ter, it’s go­ing to hurt some.

In­tan­gi­bles

They have noth­ing to lose and with hardly any ex­pec­ta­tions, the pres­sure’s off. They will ac­tu­ally play bet­ter with that be­cause ev­ery­one ex­pects to beat them. So if they hit some big shots and stay within strik­ing dis­tance, they can pull the rug from un­der some­one.

Out­look

Last year, it was Paul Lee and his Lee-gion­naires. This year…well. Ah… they could be in for a long and painful sea­son.

Note: As of presstime, Ken Acibar is said to have left the team. Ef­forts are be­ing made to bring him back. C PF SF SG PG Adrian Santos Lordy Casajeros Ken Acibar Lu­cas Ta­garda BJ Zosa

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