So the waiting game for the next UP victory has officially started.
The UE Red Warriors acted like the gravitational force that inevitably pulled the high-spirited UP Fighting Maroons down as they decisively dominated in this matchup, 68-48, despite missing the services of Roi Sumang and his fabulous sideburns.
Though not as skillful playmaker as Sumang is, Dan Alberto was able to fill in nicely as UE’s starting point guard, utilizing his different skill set with his early barrage of triples to give the Red Warriors a comfortable cushion that they had not relinquished. On the other hand, UP struggled from the field, ending with just two field goals made in the first ten minutes. Charles Mammie, when not swatting the field goal attempts by Fighting Maroons, was intimidating them not to shoot within his vicinity. Despite their woes, UP managed to keep at bay until the second quarter, thanks to the ten points they scored off UE’s 13 first half turnovers.
When Mammie decided to take the matter in his own hands come second half, UE drifted away. UP had no answers for him. The Fighting Maroons had thrown all their bigs (Mark Juruena, Gelo Vito, and Andrew Harris) to contain the 6’9″ center from Sierra Leone in the paint but to little avail. The game appeared to be decided at the end of third quarter. The final ten minutes were a mere formality, yet UE played as if they were trailing. They were still applying full court pressure on defense and executing beautifully on offense.
Individual Offensive Ratings
Reviewing the Keys of the Game
TAKE NOTE OF THEIR GUNNERS
UE converted only four triples in this game, two fewer than their average in the first seven games. However, three of these three-pointers came in the first quarter (all from Alberto), where UE seized a sizable margin which UP could not overcome. The two other gunners (Bong Galanza and Paul Varilla), which I mentioned in the pregame article that should always be kept an eye on, had only one triple between them to contribute to UE’s cause. Nonetheless, the three Alberto triples in first quarter were more than enough to put off the fight early on from the Fighting Maroons.
REDUX OF REYES-GALLARZA EXPLOSION
Mikee Reyes had to work extremely hard on his way to team-high 19 points. He had faced taller and more athletic UE opponents, compared to Adamson players. Lately, he has been shooting more threes and he’s doing pretty well there. In the first six games of the season, he has only converted two out of the 19 three-point attempts. But in the last two outings, he has taken more triples and shot way better, 42.1 percent (8 out of 19). Is this the new norm for Mikee? Hope this hot shooting from him continues.
On the other hand, JR Gallarza had a quiet game. He only used 10.1 percent of the UP possessions in this game, a season-low for him. He only rebounded 6.0 percent of the misses when he was on the court, also a season-low. Consider this game an aberration for him. Knowing him as an assertive and feisty player, he’ll bounce back and register better numbers.
ON BREAKING THAT PRESS
Regarding this matter, it was a story of two halves. In the first half, UP was able to withstand the pesky full court pressure by UE. The Fighting Maroons managed to set up quick on offense while UE was pressing, which resulted into a number of good looks. Unfortunately, these shots did not fall in. I remember vividly the two open corner threes (one by Gallarza, the other from Moriah Gingerich) which were the result of quick offensive sets to counter the UE press.
The second half was a different tale – UP finally withered under UE’s defensive scheme. They forced three turnovers (by my count) from their pressure, which translated into easy points for them.
As cliches go, all good things come to an end. Sadly for UP, it had to end so soon. That monumental win over Adamson, and the bonfire celebration after, are all now part of the history. This loss has surely sent them crashing back to reality and reminded them that the task is not yet complete. I can tell you that the Fighting Maroons will give their all just to go back to winning ways because this team is filled with proud warriors (pun intended) who will fight until the very end.
* with apologies to Katy Perry
Featured image courtesy of Mark Cristino, Pinoy Exchange