Roi Sumang, star of the UE Red Warriors over the past three seasons, is forgoing his final year of eligibility to enter the PBA draft, according to a report by Reuben Terrado of

If you remember, Season 77 was a Cinderella story, of sorts, for the Red Warriors. They were eliminated by the eventual champs, the NU Bulldogs in a thrilling, down-to-the-wire game, 51-49. Sumang himself was benched in that pivotal game but would make his mark late in the game with clutch baskets (as usual).


To recall:

Roi Sumang holds a career PER of 21.6 and has ranked 7th, 7th and 10th over his last 3 seasons in PER. That’s a hell of an accomplishment for anybody, let alone someone who has Roi Sumang’s frame. He’s quick and he’s fearless.

Quick and fearless. That just about describes Roi Sumang. I mean, who can forget this game winner?

He was one of the most dangerous scorers in the UAAP in his time there particularly because of how well he finishes at the rim AND because he shoots so well (especially off-the-dribble). His range is limitless and he’s not afraid to fire those bombs away. He’s fired off about five threes per game since coming into his own and he’s made 57 of 181 triples he’s fired since coming into his own in Season 75.

Despite his reputation as a “ballhog,” he’s actually pretty good drive-and-kick passer. He’s finished in the Top 3 in assist rate, or the percentage of his teammates’ basket he assists on when he’s on the court, in all 4 of his seasons. He did it when he wasn’t “ballhogging” in his rookie season and he did it in three seasons since.

Despite all that, Roi Sumang never tasted Final Four glory. The closest he came was in Season 77 (last season), when their supposed Cinderella story was ended abruptly.

Two questions that PBA teams will be asking: Is there a spot for him in the league? Can he defend?

Those are big questions considering the league is teeming with big, dynamic ballhandling guards like Paul Lee, Jayson Castro, Stanley Pringle, Alex Cabagnot, PJ Simon, Jonas Villanueva, Sol Mercado, Kevin Alas not to mention other dependable ballhandling guards like Terrence Romeo, Chris Ross, LA Tenorio, Mark Barroca, Jvee Casio and Chris Banchero (and Manny Pacquiao). I haven’t included other names like Uyloan, Melton, Cortez, Lanete and Revilla in there.

In a height-starved country such as the Philippines, lightning quick guards who can shoot and score are in surplus. With the exception of maybe Jayson Castro, Terrence Romeo and LA Revilla, everyone in the list above provides something that Roi Sumang can’t. Paul Lee, Stanley Pringle, Alex Cabagnot, PJ Simon, Sol Mercado, Kevin Alas are match-up nightmares. Jonas Villanueva, Mike Cortez, Chris Ross, LA Tenorio and Jvee Casio provide steady leadership at the helm. Chris Banchero, Justin Melton, Mark Barroca, LA Tenorio are defensive hounds. And then there’s Chico Lanete, who’s actually at the top of on/off court ratings.

Terrence Romeo and LA Revilla were lucky they were playing for “rebuilding” franchises (Globalport and Kia) that allowed them to withstand the growing pains of their bad seasons.

His defense, while not great, can be hidden under a great scheme, great coach and a great set of teammates. But if he’s not doing anything spectacular on offense and he’s not a defensive plus, what does that leave him?

Roi Sumang, on a purely positional and skill-wise need, doesn’t have a place in the league right now. Recent UAAP stars that entered the PBA draft don’t give much hope as well (Jeric Teng, RR Garcia, Jericho Cruz, Alex Nuyles).

Nevertheless, a team like Blackwater could be perfect for Roi and could provide a situation similar to what LA is having right now in Kia. If only they didn’t swap picks with Talk ‘n Text to acquire a player that they would eventually release. Said player was also available in the dispersal draft.

As much as I love Roi Sumang and his warrior mentality, it’s going to be an uphill climb for him. The PBA is a different animal from the UAAP. Guys are bigger, taller and better. It’s also a more physical league, which might make his adjustment a lot harder. And in a results-driven league, every adjustment period he has is taken into account and may affect his chances at staying with a team.

Whoever picks him will however get a player that’s shown he’s capable of hitting the big shots and who’s never afraid of the big moments.

Sino pinakamalaking puso? – Coach Zamar

Ako Coach! – Roi Sumang*

*Not Verbatim

Like most draftees, here’s to hoping he goes to the right team, under the right coach, with the right set of circumstances.