UE's Roi Sumang attempts a shot against Ateneo's Nico Elorde. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines -- University of the East (UE) guard Roi Sumang could only laugh when asked about the free throw discrepancy between the Red Warriors and the Ateneo Blue Eagles during their second round encounter in the UAAP Season 77 men's basketball tournament.
The Blue Eagles defeated the Red Warriors anew, 78-73, Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena. Ateneo shot 32 free throws in the game, with forward Chris Newsome being awarded 21 charities. UE was given 24 free throws and made 15 of them.
"Wala, automatic na 'yun," Sumang said of the free throws and the fouls called against them, especially at the end of the game.
"Aasahan mo na 'yun, about La Salle and Ateneo. Wala ka na magagawa diyan. Ganoon talaga, day by day, before the game pa lang, Ateneo na naman, foul na naman," he said.
"Yun na din talaga ang aasahan mo, 'yun na din ine-expect ng mga tao," he added.
Sumang said the only thing he and his teammates can do to overcome the free throw discrepancy is to fight harder.
"Siyempre laban ka na lang ng laban," he said. "Wala ka namang magagawa doon, sa referee na 'yun, referee's decision."
"Hindi din namin alam eh," Sumang lamented. "Sobra ang respect nila for La Salle and Ateneo. Siguro ganoon na talaga 'yun, hindi mo na mababago."
UE head coach Derrick Pumaren had questioned the number of free throws awarded to Ateneo's Kiefer Ravena when the two teams played in the first round. This time, it was Newsome he pointed to.
"I think you saw it. It was not Ravena who got 25 (free throws); it was Newsome who got 21," said Pumaren.
The Red Warriors still had a strong chance to win at the end of the game, and were only trailing 72-73 when Ravena hit a clutch three-pointer with 14 seconds left to essentially seal the game in Ateneo's favor.
"We fell short again," Pumaren acknowledged. "We were not able to deliver in the end. We had a chance to win the ball game, but unfortunately we were not able to have that finishing kick again."