And we’re down to the last game of Round 1!

The UE Red Warriors’ performance during this round was more of “getting the feel of the playing field.” With the game so even (with a couple of outliers), finishing strong in the first round gives anyone an edge. The Red Warriors have a chance here to go higher than 0.500 and clinch a possible three-way tie for the third spot.

So, who stands in the way of the Warriors? UP Fighting Maroons.

The Maroons had a lot of almost-there-but-not-quite games – meaning games where they could’ve won from behind but just lacked the fuel to finish the job. Joseph Marata has been a consistent offensive player for UP with Kyles Lao coming up big on several games. What will it take to secure that 4-3?

Keys to the Game

Bring the game to the rim

UP isn’t exactly a great rebounding team which means Mammie has the advantage on this one. With the exception of Soyud (whose rebounding splits are currently at 13.3/25.2/18.9) and Chris Ball (10.8/19.9/12.1), UP has no one to rebound the ball. This means Mammie can have a good rebounding game against UP (and he probably will have a good one). With Mammie’s post game improving, the Red Warriors should capitalize on this and give Mammie the space he needs to finish at the rim and convert those offensive rebounds into points.

UE

This is how quick Roi Sumang can get… kidding, it’s just a bad quality photo. (Photo Credit: DZMM ABS-CBN News)

The Red Warriors have a great at-the-rim finisher in Roi Sumang and he isn’t the easiest player to defend (being so quick and smart at handling the ball) so it’ll good to see the offense run with Sumang finishing the play (not that it hardly happens, but still). With UP allowing most shots to materialize in the paint, pushing the ballgame to the shaded area will be a good advantage to the Warriors.

Build the lead right from the start

UP’s games have been more or less, trying to win from a huge comeback. Oftentimes they fall short just because the lead was just too high. Meanwhile, UE is a slow starter and their game pretty much booms coming out of the locker room. In their game against La Salle, they started strong and maintained it until the dying seconds of the clock.

Building the lead makes it way harder for UP to catch up, even with their big comebacks during the third/fourth quarter. UE doesn’t want this game to go down the wire even with Sumang usually hitting those crucial game-winning shots.

Force them to shoot contested treys

After that amazing three-point shooting performance of UP against the Archers, they’ve fallen in love with the three-point shot. On average, they attempt 23.3 three-point shots but only make 26.4% of those. The Red Warriors should pressure them from half-court and force them to either turn the ball over or shoot difficult and contested threes.

Prediction

(Come on, give me one okay? Been 0/6 in predictions huzzah!) The Red Warriors will win this one – with Mammie towering and forcing his way into the paint and Sumang covering the shooting from the perimeter, the Fighting Maroons from Katipunan will have a lot to handle on their plate. Having two consistent producers in Sumang and Mammie, UP might just sink to 0-7 after this game.