UE head coach Derrick Pumaren. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines -- University of the East (UE) head coach Derrick Pumaren could only note the difference in free throws taken after his Red Warriors lost to the Ateneo Blue Eagles, 93-91, in overtime in the UAAP Season 77 tournament.
The Red Warriors squandered a 21-point deficit and were torched by Ateneo's Kiefer Ravena for 38 points -- including 19 free throws --0 as UE slumped to a fourth consecutive loss.
"I think it will be hard to beat teams if you give them 45 free throws, right?" Pumaren said in a brief interview after the game.
Ateneo as a team made 33 of 45 freebies, with Ravena by his lonesome making 19 of 25 attempts from the stripe.
"As a team, we only shot 30 free throws," Pumaren pointed out. "Ravena shot 25 free throws. That's the game right there."
Pumaren refused to blame the officiating outright, instead telling reporters, "It's up to you guys to decide."
Pumaren's top player, Roi Sumang, scored a career-high 30 points in the game but missed crucial shots at the end of regulation and overtime. He asked not to speak to the media after the game.
UE has now lost four consecutive games - all against teams competing for Final Four slots - after winning their first two games against cellar-dwellers University of the Philippines and Adamson University.
They will wrap up their first round campaign against last season's losing finalist University of Santo Tomas on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.