I just like that, I ate my words.
The Warriors started out okay with Roi Sumang attacking the rim with such control of his body, forcing a lay-up. After that, NU’s Emmanuel Mbe just owned the game with three back-to-back baskets. Once again, the UE offense looked in disarray and lost. The Bulldogs got the upper hand and UE was just setting up ball screens and isolations, there was no apparent flow or strategy. The Warriors barely took the lead by halftime, 32-31.
From UE’s previous games, they usually have the advantage coming into the halftime and then lose it altogether during the third quarter, where they find themselves too far from the leading team and fails to initiate a comeback in the fourth quarter. I thought I was gonna see a replay of that – the third quarter saw the Bulldogs build a lead as big as six. The Warriors were able to reverse the lead at the end of the quarter thanks to Gino Jumao-as’ multiple WTF lay-ups, 55-52. Then we start asking: can the Warriors finish this game?
We got our answer in the form of two dagger treys from none other than the “Spitfire Point Guard,” Roi Sumang. That fourth quarter was just a roller-coaster of a game with both teams scoring one after the other. With the clock expiring fast, Sumang shot back-to-back threes from way beyond the arc (and with the rare four-point play) and hammers the nail into the Bulldogs’ coffin.
Keys to the Game
Mammie needs to avoid foul trouble.
And he did! His game versus NU was relatively more controlled and careful. He was starting to get his rebounding rhythm. When the ball bounces off the rim, it seemed to just automatically go to Mammie’s hands. That’s great but he was having a hard time actually scoring from the rebounds – there were a lot of second-chance opportunities and it took Mammie around two or three tries to get the ball in.
To Mammie’s credit, he’s definitely got that intensity – he was rebounding every single miss and doing it with so much strength and power. We all saw him tirelessly jumping and grabbing the boards, evidenced by his rebounding split of 27.1/12.5/19.2. There’s so much potential in this guy; with proper training and mentoring, he might be able to learn how to score by backing down his defender inside the paint. He’s already got the build and power, he only needs the discipline and the skill.
2. Perimeter shooting
Coach Zamar made some adjustments here – Sumido’s no longer shooting from the perimeter but rather driving inside the paint (we all saw in the first game, Sumido’s perimeter attempts didn’t work so well for them… Sumido must have had a brick mansion after) and the responsibility of shooting from the outside fell to Casajeros and Olivarez. UE’s lead could’ve been bigger if Casajeros’ shots were falling, but they weren’t. His line for the game is 14.3 FG%/50% 2PT%/0% 3PT%. Olivarez did better at 33% shooting, but still not very stellar performance. Together, they were only able to contribute 10 points.
They still need to do a lot of work on this department – they can’t always expect Sumang’s late-game heroics to save their team.
The team did a better job at attacking the paint against Bulldogs bigger front court. We saw a lot of Jumao-as in that offense – he was twisting and contorting his body into weird angles that produced points off no-look-reverse-lay-ups and just outright difficult shots. Adi Santos was, as usual, very active in the paint grabbing rebounds and attempting putbacks.
3. Contain Parks.
People have equated the task of containing Parks to that of seeing unicorns – it’s just that hard. In this game, Parks was limited to only 11 points (five of those coming from the stripe). He struggled the entire game and the Red Warriors defense had a hand in that. They were forcing Parks to his right, where he can’t finish well. Adi Santos did a great job at defending him and making him take shots that were difficult for him.
It was a tight game. Both teams really fought to take the lead and just kept rallying back and forth. I’d like to see more of this UE team – being active in the paint, driving more to the basket and setting up a better defense. My last note,