Scoring 39 points in 40 minutes appears to be an incredible feat only if it is an individual one. As in the case of UP Fighting Maroons, 39 points was their offensive production for the entire afternoon as they were easily demolished by UST Growling Tigers by 24 points. (Just do the math to get UST’s score. :D ) And speaking of feat, the Fighting Maroons just added another unwanted feather in their cap as they tied the lowest score and the set the lowest field goal shooting (15.8%) in the UAAP since 2003.
In fairness to UP, the game was close for three quarters as the two teams really had a very rough shooting game as the two teams combined only for 28-111 (25.2%) field goal shooting. However, as the Growling Tigers finally found some rhythm offensively in the fourth canto, the Fighting Maroons continued to struggle. Adding to to their shooting woes is their poor defense on the transition, allowing UST to score 10 fastbreak points in that quarter. UST was able to run on 2-on-1, 3-on-1, and even 4-on-1 fastbreak opportunities as the Fighting Maroons appeared to be super slow going back to defense. Also, UP was not able to set up their offensive scheme properly in the fourth as they were hounded by the Growling Tigers which employed a full court man-to-man pressure in the critical juncture of the fourth quarter when UST pulled away.
Reviewing the Keys of the Game
Production from others
To begin with, there was little production from Joseph Marata and Raul Soyud, two guys who are expected to steer UP’s offense. Marata scored 12 points in 17 attempts while Soyud tallied only four points in 13 attempts. As for everyone else, they combined for a meager 23 points on 8-51 (15.7%) shooting. Obviously, the entire team struggled buying a basket for four quarters even though UST’s defense was not too stingy until the fourth quarter. There were a lot of shots from the Fighting Maroons that were makeable on any other day. A lot of easy layups and open midrange jumpers missed. It was just really one of those bad offensive games by UP. And when I say bad UP game, that is totally bad, horrible and atrocious.
It was a convolution of bad shooting day and tenacious defense from Soyud as Karim Abdul, one of the leading contenders for MVP, registered only seven points, just one-third of his scoring average in the second round. But he only had nine shot attempts, half of his second round average. Nevertheless, the Cameroonian center still made his presence felt by amassing a season-high 21 of UST’s 70 rebounds. On the defensive end, his workload was made lighter by Soyud’s woes. While UP was able to limit him scoring-wise, he had found ways to make an impact on this game.
UP registered 22 fouls which send the Growling Tigers to the foul line 28 times. However, UST, shooting only 65.6% from the free throw line this season, failed to capitalize as they only converted only 17 of those free throws. Nevertheless, UP once again resorted to fouling the opponents as their defense scheme has been proven ineffective especially when UST tries to attack the paint from time to time.
Like I said in my game preview, the stakes are higher for UST which is why they were more motivated to win this game than the winless UP. And it showed especially in the fourth quarter. While the two teams both had a hard time offensively, it was the defense (or the lack of) that spelled the difference in the contest. The Growling Tigers turned their defense a notch higher in the fourth, forcing UP turnovers and scoring easily on fastbreak opportunities. Meanwhile, the Fighting Maroons appeared to be slacking off and moved sluggishly on defense.
With a terrible loss like this, plus setting some unwanted record eventually, we hope that UP can shake it off and treat this loss just like the previous ones. Also, we hope that this game taught some important lessons for this very young squad.
On to the next one. Padayon, UP.