This time, there were no Chris Javier heroics in the dying seconds between the UP Fighting Maroons and the UE Red Warriors. Unlike the exhilarating finish in their second round duel last season, this game went anticlimactic in the homestretch. No thanks to UP’s errors in the final 80 seconds that carried them to a 57-62 setback, and subsequently, to a winless first round.

With UP down by a single point with 1:21 remaining in the fourth quarter, Raul Soyud grabbed his eleventh rebound of the game from a Charles Mammie miss. He then handed the ball to point guard Henry Asilum. And little by little, things fell apart for the Fighting Maroons. Asilum, who was lightly pressured by defender Ralf Olivares, committed an eight-second backcourt violation. In the next possession, Roi Sumang wisely milked the clock, attacked the basket and successfully fished a foul from Joseph Marata. Luckily for UP, Sumang converted only one of his two free throws, giving UE a 59-57 advantage with 51.4 seconds left.

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The eight-second backcourt violation by Henry Asilum was the first of UP’s late-game blunders. (Photo  credit: ABS-CBN Sports/ UAAP Sports TV)

In the next sequence, UP’s offense appeared stagnant as Marata took the ball for almost the entire possession. As the shot clock winded down, he opted to dish the ball to Asilum who then missed a triple with 28 seconds remaining. The Red Warriors grabbed the board but the Fighting Maroons were perplexed as to whether to play an honest-to-goodness defense or to foul UE and put them to the line. They chose to do the latter but burned 17 precious seconds as Asilum fouled Sumang with 10.8 seconds left. Sumang gave UP another chance as he split his charities again.

Both teams called a timeout each to set up their schemes. With Chris Ball inbounding from the sideline, he opted to pass the ball to Jason Ligad in the left wing. Unfortunately, Ligad’s left foot stepped on the line as UP wasted a very crucial opportunity. UP fouled Sumang right away. This time, he made sure UP won’t see any ray of sunlight as he knocked down both his free throws to seal the deal. Marata missed a corner triple at the buzzer to end the ballgame.

Game Flow

GameFLow(UEvsUP)

UP never tasted the lead in this game as UE led by as much as 11 in three different occasions. However, the Fighting Maroons were able to tie the game five times. There were no huge runs from either sides. The biggest run was 8-0 by the Fighting Maroons in the closing moments of third quarter.

Review of the Keys of the Game

Take Mammie out of the paint
Rebounding Numbers ORB (ORB%) DRB (DRB%) TRB (TRB%)
UP 23 (41.8%) 26 (53.1%) 49 (47.1%)
UE 23 (46.9%) 32 (58.2%) 55 (52.9%)

The Fighting Maroons were outrebounded in this game but you have to be impressed because the difference is not really huge, considering Mammie was able to match his rebounding norm this season (28/21/24 rebounding split). Add to that is the unexpected rebounding production from Sumang (2/16/9 split) and Adrian Santos (19/10/14).

Give credit to UP’s frontcourt, especially to JR Gallarza. Gallarza, an undersized power forward, started the game in place of Chris Ball and grabbed 21% of the available rebounds. Soyud, meanwhile, just had another day in the office with rebounding splits of 22/14/18. Ball, despite feeling under the weather, managed to produce 6/21/13 rebounding split.

JR Gallarza was UP's best player in this game. (Photo Credit: Czeasar Dancel, NPPA Images)

JR Gallarza was UP’s best player in this game. (Photo Credit: Czeasar Dancel, NPPA Images)

In the early stages, there was a conscious effort from UP to take Mammie out of the paint as Soyud tried to play his midrange game. However, his jumpers were not falling and he got into early foul trouble. Replacements Martin Pascual and Andrew Harris were unable to contain the Sierra Leone native as he put on 7 points and 12 rebounds in the first half alone. He then added 10 points and 10 boards in the second half.

Third quarter storm
Third Quarter Stats Pts 3PTM/ 3PTA REBS ASTS BLKS
UP 22 3/4 16 5 3
UE 15 1/2 14 2 0

Props to UP for putting up their best third quarter this season. The third quarter has been their Waterloo in the previous games, but not in this one. They were able to outrebound the Red Warriors in this quarter after a 20-32 disadvantage in the first half. The ball rotation was also better, paving the way for more assists and better looks at the three-point area.

Make Sumang work on both ends
Roi Sumang’s Stats Points Minutes AST% USG% TS eFG
Season 76 average (prior to game vs. UP) 20.5 33.7 24% 26% 54% 47%
versus UP 10 36 30% 22% 32% 17%

Moriah Gingerich, who started in this game, was successful in limiting the production of the King Red Warrior. Sumang hardly handled the ball in the early stages as Gingerich relentlessly clamped on him. There were even instances where Sumang and Gingerich could not be seen on the television on UE’s offense.  The Red Warriors had to resort to a 4-on-4 offense scheme for some time, in which they capitalized by giving the ball occasionally to Mammie as he viciously dominated UP’s bigs inside.

UP's Moriah Gingerich had the unenviable task of guarding Roi Sumang. (Photo Credit: PinoyExchange.com)

UP’s Moriah Gingerich had the unenviable task of guarding Roi Sumang. (Photo Credit: PinoyExchange.com)

But in the closing stages, Sumang was able to get the ball as he scored the game’s last four points, all coming from free throws. Despite his scoring struggles, he was able to contribute in other areas like rebounds and assists.

Defensively, Sumang had a relatively easy time. He wasn’t tired out as he guarded Gingerich who is not really mobile in the UP offense.  The tasked of defending the UP point guards were assigned to Olivares and Casajeros most of the time.

Final Thoughts

  1. This was an ugly game, offensively. The two teams combined only for 41/134 (31%) from the field. The main gunners for both teams had an off day. Sumang was 2-11 while Marata fizzled for 1-18. It was understandable to see Sumang struggling thanks to Gingerich’s defense, but in the case of Marata, it was just a horrible shooting display.  He was not really locked down defensively.  He was given good screens to get separation from defenders but his shots simply were not falling. Despite his woes, Marata continued jacking up shots, instead of dishing the ball to his teammates and in case you’re wondering, Marata did not tally even one assist.
  2. The Fighting Maroons gave too much free throws in this contest. UE attempted 37 free throws. Needless to say, that’s too much. Luckily, UE only converted 18 of those attempts. Had they matched their 64.8% FT shooting average this season, the game might have been decided a little earlier.
  3. Kudos to Gallarza and Gingerich. Both of them played excellent in the game as they provided rebounds and perimeter defense — two things UP failed to do on a regular basis.
  4. After finishing the first round winless, the million dollar question is: “Is there sufficient evidence to say UP will finish 0-14 for the third time in seven seasons?” Personally, if UP continues to engage their opponents to an ugly tussle, as seen in this game, there stands a chance that they will notch that W. If you are asking how many, it is going to be as unpredictable as your girlfriend, if you have one.