UE's Charles Mammie slams the ball. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE 1) The University of the East (UE) Red Warriors used a hail of three-pointers early in the fourth quarter to pull away from gritty Adamson Falcons and notch a 72-59 victory in their second-round encounter in the UAAP Season 77 tournament Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Leading by only four points, 50-46, entering the final period, the Red Warriors got three pointers from Paul Varilla, Dan Alberto and Gino Jumao-as, with Jumao-as' triple giving them a 61-53 advantage with a little over six minutes to go in the ball game.
Adamson last threatened when Dawn Ochea scored off an offensive rebound to make it a six-point game, 55-61, with over four minutes remaining. But UE out-scored the Falcons 11-4 in the final 3:49 of the game to claim the double-digit win.
The victory put UE's record at 5-5 this season to keep their Final Four hopes alive, while Adamson, which was officially eliminated from Final Four contention last week, slumped to their 10th consecutive defeat.
UE head coach Derrick Pumaren seemed far from satisfied with his players' performance, however, noting that they "didn't come out to play."
"I don't think they played hard... they were taking Adamson for granted," said Pumaren. "With the position that we have right now, we cannot take teams lightly."
Pumaren is not giving up hope that the Red Warriors will make it to the Final Four, but emphasized that the team needs to play better than they did against the Falcons.
"We still have a shot, we still have a chance, but we cannot play the way we did (today). If that's the way we're gonna play against NU and the top teams, then we have to kiss the season goodbye," he said.
After trailing 33-34 at halftime, it seemed as though UE had broken the game open when they opened the third quarter with a 9-0 scoring burst punctuated by a rim-rattling dunk by Charles Mammie.
The Falcons showed remarkable grit, however, clawing their way back in the game with several players contributing -- including a big triple from veteran guard Ryan Monteclaro that cut the lead to only two-points, 40-42, with over four minutes left in the third period.
Down 46-48, Adamson had a chance to tie the game in the final minute of the period, but gave up a steal to Mammie who went all the way to the hoop for the finger-roll that gave UE a 50-46 lead entering the final quarter.
In the fourth period, the Red Warriors simply had too much firepower, as Galanza, Alberto, Varilla and Jumao-as waxed hot early, while it was Mammie and Sumang who put the finishing touches on the win.
"For us, it's like the start of the season," Pumaren said after their win. "We have to work our way up now to making it to the Final Four, and that's the mentality we should have."
"It starts right now," he emphasized.
Galanza led the way for the Red Warriors with 20 points, making four of his seven three-pointers, while RR De Leon and Mammie each scored 12 points.
Don Trollano had a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds for Adamson, while Ochea finished with 12 points and had eight rebounds, seven of which came on the offensive end.
Adamson opened up with a surprising 15-8 advantage over UE, as the Falcons showcased their running game and scored off quick lay-ups repeatedly. Only the hot shooting of Bong Galanza, who scored 10 points in the opening quarter, kept the Warriors within striking distance.
UE played better in the second quarter upon the entry of forward RR De Leon, who provided an offensive boost as he made all four of his jumpshots. It was still Adamson who led at halftime, 34-33, after a quick four-point burst by guard Axel Inigo. Only a three-point play by Sumang with 41 seconds left allowed UE to enter the halftime break down by just one point.
The Red Warriors won their first round game, 99-72, against the Soaring Falcons, dominating the second half of the game after trailing by one, 40-39, at halftime.
UE 72 - Galanza 20, De Leon 12, Mammie 12, Jumao-as 9, Sumang 8, Varilla 4, Arafat 4, Alberto 3, Javier 0, Guiang 0, Olayon 0, Palma 0.
ADU 59 - Trollano 18, Ochea 12, Rios 9, Polican 9, Monteclaro 3, Inigo 2, Villanueva 2, Garcia 2, Butron 2, Donahue 0, Barrera 0, Nalos 0, Aquino 0, Gumtang 0, Baytan 0, Pedrosa 0.
Quarter-scoring: 13-15, 33-34, 50-46, 72-59