If there's one person in the University of the East fold that is used to winning, it's new head coach Joe Silva.
Silva led the Ateneo Blue Eagles to two UAAP championships. He stepped down after, then moved to Recto to call the shots for the Red Warriors.
Whether his winning ways will rub off on his players right away remains unknown. But even though odds are stacked against them, Silva is embracing the daunting task of leading the team that has been languishing at the bottom of the standings for much of the decade.
"Challenge is always a daunting task right," he said. "In life, it's all about challenges so it's how you deal with those challenges. Whether you embrace those or give in to them."
"This for me, it's different because I'm used to a winning program. I'm used to having good players."
Don't expect him to transform the league doormat into a powerhouse squad right away, though. Silva said they are in the process of rebuilding the team from the rubble of forgettable seasons.
Although he has the likes of main man Alvin Pasaol and Philip Manalang at his disposal, Silva bared he only has modest goal for the Red Warriors.
"Marching orders for me was to rebuild this program and to bring it back to its glory years but for this year, expectations are low," he said.
But make no mistake about it. This team is hell-bent on proving it is no longer a pushover like it has been the past few years. Such mentality augurs well for the team, according to Silva.
"The good thing about it is these guys are sick and tired of being called the whipping boys," he said. "They're sick and tired of the fact that when they go to the venue, it's 1-0 for the opponent. So at least the mentality is there, the attitude is there."
Pasaol echoed his mentor's sentiments. The high-scoring guard said they are more determined this year than the ones that preceded it.
Unlike Silva, though, Pasaol is aiming higher. His focus is leading the team to unfamiliar territory: the Final Four.
"We are more eager now to make the Final Four to prove to ourselves that we can, and to prove to the UE community that we can win. So we need to give it our all," he said.