by John Edison Ubaldo
Photos by Anjon Galauran
The University of the Philippines almost duplicated last year’s mastery over University of the East but committed two crucial turnovers with 73 ticks left for a 62-57 setback to close out the first round of the UAAP Season 76 winless Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Guard Henry Asilum was called for a backcourt violation when UP was staring at a 58-57 deficit still 1:13 left in the pay-off period.
Then with UE holding on to a three-point edge, 60-57, courtesy of two charities from star Guard Roi Sumang, UP set-up a play for a game-tying trey only to find Joseph Ligad stepping on the line off an inbound pass in the final 10 seconds of the match.
UE Head Coach Boycie Zamar said that he was both happy and unhappy with the way UE won.
“Hindi (masaya) in the sense na you cannot underestimate anybody. Yes, because they (Warriors) need this kind of game,” Zamar said.
Charles Mammie posted a double-double output dropping 17 points on top of 22 boards, 12 coming from the offensive end. Sumang, who bleeded for a 2-of-11 from the field, finished with only 10 points but all coming in when UE was trying to weather UP’s fightback.
The Red Warriors quickly seized the upper hand early breaking a 4-4 deadlock with a 17-6 wind up capped by a backcourt assist from Mammie to guard Lord Casajeros, 21-10.
Maroon center Chris Ball sparked a 5-0 blitz to trim the lead back to six, 21-15, still over six minutes to play in the second quarter but Sumang played hero as he spearheaded UE’s offense to pull ahead 29-20 at the half.
UE stretched their cushion to double digits at the 9:12 mark of the third quarter on a Casajeros putback but the response was quick as forward Joseph Gallarza sandwiched a 9-4 spurt with his charities, 37-31.
Maroon go-to guy Joseph Marata, who was forced to a 1-of-18 from the field, scored a buzzing-beating rainbow shot to bring UP to within two, 44-42, going into the final canto.
The Maroons registered the third deadlock at the 5:54 mark of the pay-off period on a Moriah Gingerich trey, 49-49.
UE powered their way ahead, 55-53, on consecutive exploits of Mammie from downlow but Asilum forced another deadlock on a jumper, 55-55, going into the final three minutes.
Gallarza almost handed UP their first kiss at the lead but failed to complete a three point play, 57-57. That was the last cry for UP’s rally as crucial mistakes finally spelled their doom.
Starting center Raul Soyud returned from a one-game ban with a double-digit performance of 10 points and 11 rebounds. Gallarza, whose energy fueled UP’s comeback, provided the surprise finishing with 10 points and 14 rebounds. Gingerich also became the unlikely scorer by registering 10 markers.
UP is now 0-7 after the first round while UE stays at a tie-for-second with UST at 4-3. UAAP Season 76 takes a two-week break to give way for the FIBA-Asia Championship slated August 1-11.
UE 62 – Mammie 17, Sumang 10, Santos 8, Casajeros 8, Olivares 7, Noble 4, Jumaos 3, Alberto3 , Javier 2, Sumido 0, Hernandez 0, Flores 0.
UP 57 – Soyud 10, Gingerich 10, Gallarza 10, Ball 8, Ligad 8, Asilum 5, Marata 3, Wong 2, Paras 2, Pascual 1, Lao 0, Harris 0.
Quarter scores: 17-10, 29-20, 44-42, 62-57.