When the Falcons collapsed in the second half of their game against UST, everyone knew they had to clean up their act and bounce back in their next game. For the first two quarters and a half of this game, the Falcons bounced back so hard it created a hole so deep even a monster fourth quarter run by the Roi Sumang led UE Warriors couldn’t get them out of it. 78-71 does not reflect the kind of muscle flexing and earth rattling the Falcons put on.
Review of the Keys of the Game
1. Stick to Sumang
After this game, I therefore conclude Roi Sumang is one heck of a player. He is beyond doubt a big force to be reckoned with in the league. He scored 26 points this game to lead all scorers from 4 of 6 shooting beyond the arc. This would be normal were it not for the fact that he is the point guard and go-to scorer of their team. He created those 4 makes for himself, most of them on transition. While his 2-point field goal percentage was a measly 3 of 11, he made up for it by shooting 8 of his 11 free throws. This meant that while only 29.4% of his attempts were effective, he was scoring on 58.4% of them.
Frankly, the Falcons couldn’t stop him from scoring. He scored at will for the Warriors, but luckily for Adamson, that was all they had going for them that game.
2. Remember “Kill Sewa”
No, Sewa didn’t answer back by writing “Eat Mami” on his shoes (would’ve been fun, though), but he DID pay Mammie back for his Fil-Oil manhandling. The battle in the paint went to the Falcons this game as Sewa grabbed 10 rebounds and managed 15 points. Charles Mammie finished the game with nine points and 14 rebounds, three more than Sewa, the difference was that Sewa had help. The Falcons rebounded extremely well, grabbing 52 boards as opposed to UE’s 37. In the paint, Rodney Brondial grabbed his share of rebounds amounting to 11 for the game. Ar-rauf Julkipli, Jericho Cruz and Harry Petilos chipped in with the rebounding each grabbing five, most of them coming from chasing down long rebounds. Only Adrian Santos and John Noble seconded Mammie’s rebounding effort with four each for the Warriors.
Not only did the Falcons dominate in the rebounding battle, but in the scoring front as well. Similar to their Season 74 game plan to stop the 7-foot Greg Slaughter of Ateneo, the Falcons slapped on a switching trap on Mammie wherein help automatically comes toward Mammie the moment the Warriors even try to feed him the ball. This strategy worked to limit his touches to only 4 attempts in the game, all while forcing him to turn the ball over 5 times, meaning Mammie ended 42.2% of his possessions with turnovers.
Did they remember Mammie’s “Kill Sewa?” Maybe. Did they make Mammie pay for it? You bet.
3. Run like the wind!
Run! Run! As fast as you can, you can’t catch me, I’m the ginger bread… oh…
For the first three quarters, the Falcons completely controlled the tempo in this game. Aside from the fact that the AdU shooters were making their shots, they were also able to limit their turnovers, preventing running opportunities for the Warriors. All of UE’s second chance points (12) came in the second half, mostly when the Falcons were milking and running down the clock and just playing keep away. At the first third of the game, the Falcons were able to take care of the ball, committing only 4 in the first half while forcing 7. It wasn’t until the dying minutes of the game that UE was able to show why their running game is so feared. Immediately after getting the turn over, Roi Suman would either go to the hoop for a layup or pull up for a long two or three. If it were a different Warrior, he’d either finish at the basket or get the foul. This was what got them to as close as 7 points.
4. Press release
The Falcons responded pretty well to the press. Even in the dying minutes of the game when the trap was most used and implemented, they were still able to cross the half court line and score or at least hold the ball. The turnovers they committed were due to the waiting game they played down the stretch. This is a win for the Falcons as the full court press has caused them problems in the past.
5. Fire in all cylinders
Roider Cabrera was red hot, no doubt about it. “Automatic” as he is dubbed by his teammates, made a third of his 15 three-point attempts but two of his three shots inside the arc. In the first half when he got his 19 points, he was shooting a blazing hot 5 of 8 from beyond the arc for 62.5%. This helped spread the defense for the Falcons. Everyone (except Jericho Cruz) was hitting their jump shots. Even when Mike Agustin was fielded to relieve Sewa and Brondial, he was able to knock down two long jumpers, forcing Mammie out of the paint. This declogged the painted area in the long run, resulting in the Falcon point guards being able to cut into the lane and find the bigs inside for easy hoops, including dunks from Sewa. The Falcons shot 43.8% from the field while keeping UE to a dismal 27.1% from the field. Even the Falcons free throw shooting improved as they shot 83.8% from the charity stripe but alarmingly sent UE to the line 32 times. Fortunately for the Falcons, UE only converted on 18 of those free throws.
Cruz vs. Sumang
No doubt Sumang won this head-to-head matchup. He scored 26 and was scorching hot from beyond the arc. Not to mention he led the Warriors back into contention from a deficit as big as 30 points. [_]Ericho Cruz was 0 of 5 from beyond the arc but earned his keep from the inside making 5 of 8 shots. Still missing his “J,” Cruz tried to look for it during the biggest parts of the lead, but it just really wouldn’t come back to him. Fortunately for him, his teammates were ready to chip in, everyone except for Don Trollano scoring for the Falcons in that game.
Sumang takes the individual win, but Cruz’ team wins the game.
This is the reason Roider Cabrera is who he is. His nickname “Automatic” comes from his relentless and fearless decision to let it fly from beyond the arc as long as he is open. When you’re hot, why not? It’s a testament to how dominant the Falcons can be if they play everything according to plan, even Sumang was outscored in the first half by two Falcons. The late game surge, however, means AdU has much to learn still. In attempting to waste time and just hold on to the win, the Falcons stepped on thin ice, sacrificing offensive flow and movement just to run down the clock a second more. This can turn very dangerous for them, but at least what UE’s feat of cutting down a 25-point lead at halftime to seven has taught the Falcons, is that no lead is safe in the UAAP.