In the game of runs between the UE Red Warriors and UST Growling Tigers, Roi “Super” Sumang furiously lifted the Warriors to snatch a 68-67 nail biter victory. Tallying 12 of his 20 points in the pay off period and dishing out 10 of UE’s 18 assists.
The UST Growling Tigers were poised to secure the win after a huge offensive rebound by Kevin Ferrer, bestowing upon the Tigers a fresh 24 seconds shot clock with 52 seconds left in the game. As the situation dictated, the Tigers milked the clock but failed to be aggressive enough to get a foul or get a clean look at the basket. The worst part, Gino Jumao-as corralled the rebound and dished out a perfect pitch to the striking Sumang who managed to leak out to the other end of the court to trim down the lead to only one with 20 seconds left.
Coming off a timeout, UST squandered yet another precious possession by throwing in a wild cross court pass to Ferrer who incidentally stepped on the line to turn the ball over again. Off a timeout, it was UE’s turn to seal the game, Sumang did just that by maneuvering a blistering drive to the basket leaving Eduardo Daguioag and Karim Abdul in the dust. Trailing by a point and without a timeout left, UST had to bring the ball from the backcourt with 12 seconds left. As if the late game offensive heroics of Sumang were not enough, with fouls to give, he again made an intelligent play by fouling Daquioag to allow his team to set up one last good defensive stop. And boy they did! UST was only allowed to put up a wild shot that didn’t even hit the rim.
Reviewing Keys to the Game
At the Rim Domination
Abdul was a monster in this game on both ends of the court. He basically schooled Charles Mammie, be it in the rebounding department or scoring. With the absence of UST team captain, Jeric Teng, and the ankle injury of Aljon Mariano (incurred in the third canto), Abdul shouldered the scoring and rebounding load pouring in a 20-20 performance, 23 points and 20 rebounds.
Aside from ATR%, UST dominated the battle inside the paint, especially in the third quarter where the Tigers built the highest margin of the game at 11 points. Come the final period, the Tigers lost their aggressiveness and settled for outside shots. UST registered one of the worst mid-range percentages in the league at 14.3% while UE managed to put up an above average mid-range percentage of 33.3%.
The last four defensive stands of the game decided the outcome of the match. UE prevailing on all those possessions. The first one was the defensive stop capped by a leak out conversion by Sumang with 26 seconds left in the game. Followed by a great denial to the four players on the court and excellent pressure to the in-bounder that resulted in a UST turnover. Third was the defensive collapse of the Tigers allowing Sumang to drive straight to the basket. And finally, the witty foul by Sumang (gosh, Sumang is all over in this paragraph) in the dying seconds followed by a scrappy team defense.
The Tigers were able to improve their three-point shooting percentage by sinking in six three pointers at a 28.6% clip. But this was not enough as the Warriors negated their 3pt output by converting their own version of six three-point shots at 26.1%.
With the depleted line up, UST was still able to put up a great fight against the hottest team in the league by far. Teng is still questionable against Ateneo and Mariano was quoted saying that he will play in their next game (but how well he will perform?). All seems lost for the Tigers for their next match, which is against the defending champion, but there is still hope. With Abdul’s 20-20 performance, there is something to hold on to. After all Ateneo doesn’t have that dominant center anymore. They just need to figure out how to free up Abdul and continuously improve their outside shot.