UE's Roi sumang tries to get past UP's defense. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA (UPDATE 2) The University of the East (UE) Red Warriors gave new head coach Derrick Pumaren a winning return to the UAAP as they demolished the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons, 87-59, Saturday at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Using the patented Pumaren full-court press, the Warriors forced the Maroons into a host of turnovers and missed shots, and led by as much as 39 points in the final canto to open their UAAP Season 77 campaign on a bright note.
Reserve guard Dan Alberto had his finest game in a UE uniform, scoring 15 points on five 3-point shots.
Gino Jumao-as also had a strong outing, and the solid play of the UE's two unheralded guards allowed star Roi Sumang to get a lengthy rest in the first half.
"I found out that we have not won any opening game in the last three or four years, so we really came out strong. We really wanted to win this game and make this the springboard for our season," said Pumaren after the game.
The Red Warriors broke the game open in the second quarter, when Alberto torched the Maroons with 3 triples in the period, and Jumao-as confounded the UP defense with quick drives to the hoop.
UP's offense, meanwhile, broke down in the face of UE's press, with the Maroons at time failing to even cross halfcourt. For most of the quarter, UP settled for long jumpers, and they were scoreless for nearly 6 minutes in the period as UE built their lead, which ballooned to as much as 20 points in the first half.
UE's onslaught continued in the third quarter, when Sumang began to assert himself, driving to the teeth of the UP defense time and again to draw the defense and set up his teammates for open shots.
"I think we really played good defense, and the energy was there especially in the second half," said Pumaren.
"During halftime, we talked about how we have to keep up the same intensity on defense because the game is far from over. We cannot relax and let UP come back in the ball game," he added.
"So we rotated well, we challenged them, we made them work, and we made them bleed for every single point."
UP's WEAKNESS EXPOSED
The Maroons' lack of a true rim protector was also exposed in the game, with UE's new foreign player Moustapha Arafat, Charles Mammie, and veteran Chris Javier all scoring on easy lay-ups in the third quarter.
Mark Olayon's lay-up early in the fourth quarter gave UE their biggest lead at 75-36.
UE's takeover of the game actually began at the end of the first period, when Alberto drilled a 3-pointer from close to the half-court line and made it a 19-16 game.
"He built his confidence when he made the three-pointer at the end of the first quarter," said Pumaren of Alberto.
It was still just a five-point deficit, 26-21, when the Warriors' second unit came in and dominated the game.
Center Charles Mammie took control of the post, discouraging the Maroons from driving to the basket, and Alberto waxed hot from beyond the arc. A putback by Mammie touched off a 12-0 run that made it 38-21 with 3:32 left in the period. Two free throws by Kyles Lao briefly stopped the UE run, but Jumao-as quickly re-established control with a lay-up following a strong baseline drive.
The Warriors would lead by as much as 20 points in the second period twice, before settling for a 45-26 lead at halftime.
Last season's Rookie of the Year, Kyles Lao, was a bright spot for the Maroons in the opening quarter, while transferee Dave Moralde also had flashes of brilliance.
But the Maroons simply had no answer for the UE press, as they coughed up the ball time and again, finishing with 17 turnovers that the Warriors turned into 12 points.
UE actually had more turnovers with 28, but UP was unable to do anything about it as they only scored 4 points off the UE turnovers.
Moreover, UE's bench completely outplayed their UP counterparts, 48-35, with many of UP's bench points coming in at garbage time. The Warriors also completely controlled the boards, 58-29.
Lao finished with 18 points for UP, while Moralde added 11 markers.
The Maroons have now lost 22 straight games since 2012. It was also their seventh consecutive loss under coach Rey Madrid, who took over the head coaching duties midway through Season 76 when he replaced Ricky Dandan.
UE 87 - Alberto 15, Javier 12, Jumao-as 10, De Leon 10, Mammie 8, Sumang 7, Arafat 7, Guiang 4, Olayon 4, Galanza 3, Varilla 3, Hernandez 2, Palma 1, Derige 1, Charcos 0, Cudal 0.
UP 59 - Lao 18, Moralde 11, Asilum 8, Gingerich 6, Gallarza 5, Dario 4, Harris 3, Reyes 2, Vito 2, Lim 0, Escalambre 0, Juruena 0, Romero 0, Bederi 0, Pascual 0.
Quarter-scoring: 19-16, 45-26, 66-36, 87-59.